Hearing loss can sneak up on you, it’s true. But occasionally, hearing issues bypass the sneaking altogether, in favor of a sudden (and often alarming), cat-like pounce. Here’s a hypothetical: You get up one morning and jump in the shower and when you get out you detect your hearing seems off or different. Maybe muffled.
You just suspect that you got some water in your ears, but as the day progresses, and there’s no difference, you start to get a little worried.
It’s times like this when hearing loss seems to strike suddenly, as if out of nowhere, that it’s a smart idea to get some medical assistance. That’s because sudden hearing loss can frequently be a symptom of a larger issue. In some cases, that larger problem can be an obstruction in your ear. Perhaps some earwax.
And sometimes that sudden hearing loss can be linked to diabetes.
Diabetes – What is it?
If you don’t immediately recognize the link between hearing loss and diabetes that would be understandable. Your pancreas and your ears seem very far apart, distance-wise.
Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which your body has trouble breaking down sugars into energy. This happens because your body either isn’t producing enough insulin or it’s not responding to the insulin that you do produce. This is why insulin injections are the most prevalent form of diabetes treatments.
What Does Diabetes Have to do With Your Hearing?
Diabetes is a common, sometimes degenerative (and complicated), affliction. With the assistance of your physician, it has to be handled cautiously. So how is that associated with your hearing?
Believe it or not, a fairly common sign of type 2 diabetes is sudden hearing loss. Collateral damage to other parts of the body is common with diabetes which often has an impact on blood vessels and nerves. These precise changes have a strong impact on the tiny hairs in your ears responsible for your hearing (called stereocilia). So even before other more widely recognized diabetes symptoms manifest (like numb toes), you may experience sudden hearing loss.
What Should I do?
If you’re in this scenario, and your hearing has suddenly started giving you trouble, you’ll certainly want to get examined by a medical professional. You may not even know that you have diabetes in the beginning, but these warning signs will begin to clue you in.
As is the case with most forms of hearing loss, the sooner you seek out treatment, the more options you’ll have. But you should watch for more than just diabetes. Sudden hearing loss can also be caused by:
- Some types of infections.
- Blood circulation problems (these are often a result of other issues, like diabetes).
- Growth of tissue in the ear.
- Blood pressure problems.
- Autoimmune diseases.
- Earwax buildup or other obstructions.
It can be tough to know what’s causing your sudden hearing loss or what to do about it without a medical diagnosis.
Treatment Options For Sudden Hearing Loss
Regardless of which of these your sudden hearing loss is triggered by, if you identify it soon enough, your hearing will normally go back to normal with correct treatment. Once the obstruction is removed or, in the case of diabetes, once blood circulation problems have been addressed, your hearing will very likely return to normal if you addressed it promptly.
But quick and effective management is the key here. There are some disorders that can cause permanent harm if they go neglected (diabetes is, again, one of those conditions). So it’s essential that you find medical treatment as quickly as you can, and if you’re suffering from hearing loss get that treated.
Pay Attention to Your Hearing
If you get routine hearing screenings, sudden hearing loss could be easier to identify and you may stop it from sneaking up on you by catching it sooner. Specific hearing problems can be detected in these screenings before you observe them.
There’s one more thing that diabetes and hearing loss have in common, treating them sooner will bring better results. Other problems, like degeneration of cognitive function, can result from neglected hearing loss. Contact us to schedule a hearing test.