Hearing loss can sneak up on you, it’s true. But there are times when hearing issues suddenly pounce you like a cat instead of sneaking up on you. It could happen like this: you wake up, drag yourself out of bed, and perhaps you don’t notice until you get out of the shower but your hearing feels…off, or different Maybe muffled.
You just assume 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.
At times like this, when you experience a sudden drastic change to your hearing, you should seek medical attention. That’s because sudden hearing loss can frequently be a symptom of a bigger problem. It might be a simple matter of a blockage in your ear. Perhaps some earwax.
But sudden hearing loss can also be a sign of 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 really far apart, distance-wise.
With type 2 diabetes, sugars in your body aren’t efficiently broken down and converted into energy. This happens because your body either isn’t making enough insulin or it’s not responding to the insulin that you do make. That’s why treatments for diabetes normally involve injections or infusions of insulin.
What Does Diabetes Have to do With Your Hearing?
Diabetes is a common, often degenerative (and complicated), affliction. It needs to be managed carefully, normally with the help of your doctor. But what does that have to do with your ears?
Well, it turns out that sudden hearing loss can frequently be a sign that you’re developing type 2 diabetes. Collateral damage to other areas of the body is common with diabetes which often has an impact on blood vessels and nerves. Tiny hairs in your ears (called stereocilia and in control of your ability to hear) are especially sensitive to those exact changes. So you may experience sudden hearing loss even before other, more traditional symptoms of diabetes appear (numb toes, for instance).
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 may not even realize you have it until you begin to see some of these red flags.
Getting help as soon as possible will give you the greatest number of possibilities, as is the case for most types of hearing loss. But you should keep an eye out for more than just diabetes. Here are a few other possible causes of sudden hearing loss:
- Issues with your blood pressure.
- Some kinds of infections.
- Earwax buildup or other obstructions.
- Tissue growth in the ear.
- Blood circulation problems (these are often caused by other issues, such as diabetes).
- Autoimmune diseases.
Without an appropriate medical diagnosis, it can be difficult to figure out the cause of your sudden hearing loss and how to treat the underlying symptoms.
Treatment Solutions For Sudden Hearing Loss
Regardless of which of these your sudden hearing loss is caused by, if you catch it soon enough, your hearing will typically return to normal with proper 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 that truly does rely on quick and efficient treatment. There are some disorders that can result in permanent harm if they go untreated (diabetes is, again, one of those conditions). So it’s essential that you get medical treatment as quickly as possible, and if you’re experiencing hearing loss get that treated.
Pay Attention to Your Hearing
Sudden hearing loss can sneak up on you, but it may be easier to detect, and you might catch it sooner if you get regular hearing screenings. Specific hearing issues 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 outcomes. Neglected hearing loss can lead to other health concerns such as loss of cognitive function. Give us a call to schedule a hearing test.