The Link Between Diabetes And Hearing Loss

Woman testing her sugar to see if diabetes is affecting her hearing health.

Hearing loss can catch you by surprise, it’s true. But in some cases, hearing problems 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 go into the shower and when you get out you notice 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 improvement, you begin to get a little worried.

It’s these moments when hearing loss seems to attack suddenly, as if from the shadows somewhere, that it’s a smart plan to get some medical assistance. That’s because sudden hearing loss can frequently be a symptom of a larger issue. It could be a simple matter of a blockage in your ear. It may be just a bit of earwax.

And sometimes that sudden hearing loss can be linked to diabetes.

Diabetes – What is it?

You’d be forgiven for not quickly seeing the connections between hearing loss and diabetes. Your pancreas and your ears seem very far apart, distance-wise.

With type 2 diabetes, sugars in your body aren’t properly broken down and turned into energy. When your body doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t process the insulin it is making, this is the outcome. This is why insulin injections are the most common form of diabetes treatments.

What Does Diabetes Have to do With Your Hearing?

Diabetes is a common, often degenerative (and complicated), condition. With the assistance of your doctor, it has to be handled cautiously. So how is that associated with your hearing?

Believe it or not, a pretty common sign of type 2 diabetes is sudden hearing loss. The connection lies in the ability of diabetes to create collateral damage, frequently to nerves and blood vessels around the extremities. Tiny hairs in your ears (called stereocilia and responsible for your ability to hear) are particularly sensitive to those exact changes. So even before other more common diabetes symptoms appear (like numb toes), you may experience sudden hearing loss.

What Should I do?

You’ii want to get medical attention if your hearing has suddenly started giving you trouble. Diabetes, for example, will often be entirely symptomless initially, so you might not even recognize you have it until you start to notice some of these warning signs.

Getting help as soon as possible will give you the largest number of options, as is the case for most forms of hearing loss. But you should watch for more than just diabetes. Here are some other possible triggers of sudden hearing loss:

  • Problems with blood circulation (often the consequence of other issues such as diabetes).
  • Some kinds of infections.
  • Blood pressure problems.
  • Growth of tissue in the ear.
  • Autoimmune disorders.
  • Earwax buildup or other obstructions.

Without an appropriate medical diagnosis, it can be difficult to figure out what’s causing your sudden hearing loss and how to treat the root symptoms.

Treatment Options For Sudden Hearing Loss

Regardless of which of these your sudden hearing loss is triggered by, if you identify it early enough, your hearing will typically go back to normal with correct treatment. If you promptly address the problem, your hearing is likely to return to normal once the blockage is removed, or in the case of diabetes, once you address the circulation problems.

But quick and effective management is the key here. There are some conditions that can cause permanent damage if they go neglected (diabetes is, again, one of those conditions). So it’s vital that you seek out medical treatment as quickly as you can, and if you’re suffering from hearing loss get that treated.

Pay Attention to Your Hearing

Sudden hearing loss can sneak up on you, but it might be easier to detect, and you might catch it sooner if you get regular hearing screenings. Specific hearing problems can be identified in these screenings before you observe them.

There’s one more thing that diabetes and hearing loss share, treating them sooner will bring better results. Other problems, including degeneration of cognitive function, can result from neglected hearing loss. Make an appointment with us for a hearing exam right away.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.


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