It’s true, hearing loss can catch you by surprise. But sometimes, hearing issues bypass the sneaking entirely, in favor of a sudden (and often alarming), cat-like pounce. Here’s a hypothetical: You wake up one morning and jump in the shower and when you get out you notice your hearing seems off or different. Muffled, maybe.
You just assume that you got some water in your ears, but as the day progresses, and there’s no difference, 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 good decision to seek out some medical help. That’s because sudden hearing loss can often be a symptom of a bigger issue. At times, that larger problem can be a blockage in your ear. Perhaps some earwax.
And sometimes that sudden hearing loss can be related to diabetes.
Diabetes – What is it?
If you don’t immediately identify the link between hearing loss and diabetes that would be understandable. Your pancreas seems pretty far away from your ears.
Type 2 diabetes is an ailment in which your body has difficulty breaking down sugars into energy. This happens because your body either isn’t generating enough insulin or it’s not reacting to the insulin that you do make. That’s why treatments for diabetes normally involve injections or infusions of insulin.
What is The Link Between Diabetes And Hearing?
Diabetes is a common, often degenerative (and complicated), condition. It needs to be handled cautiously, usually 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 often be an indication that you’re developing type 2 diabetes. The link lies in the ability of diabetes to create collateral damage, typically to nerves and blood vessels around the extremities. These exact changes have a strong impact on the delicate hairs in your ears responsible for your hearing (called stereocilia). So even before other more common diabetes symptoms show up (like numb toes), you might experience sudden hearing loss.
What Should I do?
You’ii want to get medical attention if your hearing has suddenly started acting up. Diabetes, for instance, will often be completely symptomless initially, so you might not even recognize you have it until you begin to observe some of these warning signs.
As is the situation with most types of hearing loss, the sooner you find treatment, the more options you’ll have. But it’s not only diabetes you need to be watchful for. Here are a few other possible triggers of sudden hearing loss:
- Autoimmune disorders.
- Blood circulation issues (these are sometimes a result of other issues, such as diabetes).
- Earwax buildup or other obstructions.
- Growth of tissue in the ear.
- Blood pressure issues.
- Some kinds of infections.
It can be hard to know what’s causing your sudden hearing loss or what you should do about it without a medical diagnosis.
Treatment Options 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 really does depend on prompt and efficient treatment. If they are not treated in time, some conditions, like diabetes, will bring about irreversible harm to your hearing. So if you’re coping with any type or amount of hearing loss, get it treated now.
Pay Attention to Your Hearing
If you get routine hearing screenings, sudden hearing loss could be easier to detect and you might stop it from sneaking up on you by detecting it sooner. Specific hearing issues can be detected in these screenings before you notice them.
Diabetes and hearing loss have one other thing in common: it’s best to get them treated as soon as possible. Other issues, including degeneration of cognitive function, can result from untreated hearing loss. Call us to schedule a hearing test.