It’s true, hearing loss can catch you by surprise. But there are times when hearing issues suddenly pounce you like a cat rather than sneaking up on you. 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. Muffled, maybe.
At first, you think that you have water in your ears, but when your hearing doesn’t improve as the day advances, you get a little more concerned.
It’s these moments when hearing loss seems to attack suddenly, as if from the shadows somewhere, that it’s a smart decision to get some medical attention. That’s because sudden hearing loss can frequently be a symptom of a bigger issue. Sometimes, that larger problem can be an obstruction in your ear. It may be just a bit of earwax.
And sometimes that sudden hearing loss can be related to diabetes.
Diabetes – What is it?
If you don’t instantly recognize the connection between hearing loss and diabetes that would be understandable. Your pancreas seems like it’s a long way from your ears.
Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which your body has difficulty processing sugars into energy. When your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or can’t process the insulin it is making, this is the outcome. 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, often degenerative (and complex), affliction. With the help of your physician, it needs to be handled carefully. But what does that have to do with your ears?
Well, it turns out that sudden hearing loss can frequently be an indication that you’re experiencing type 2 diabetes. The connection 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 affect on the tiny hairs in your ears responsible for your hearing (called stereocilia). So even before other more well known diabetes symptoms manifest (like numb toes), you might go through sudden hearing loss.
Is There Anything I Can Do?
If you’re in this scenario, and your hearing has suddenly begun giving you trouble, you’ll certainly want to get looked over by a medical professional. Diabetes, for instance, will often be entirely symptomless initially, so you might not even recognize you have it until you begin to observe some of these warning signs.
As is the case with most forms of hearing loss, the sooner you get treatment, the more options you’ll have. But it’s not only diabetes you need to watch for. Sudden hearing loss could be caused by:
- Earwax buildup or other obstructions.
- Growth of tissue in the ear.
- Autoimmune conditions.
- Problems with blood circulation (sometimes the consequence of other problems such as diabetes).
- Infections of varied types.
- Blood pressure problems.
It can be difficult to know what’s causing your sudden hearing loss or what you should do about it without a medical diagnosis.
Sudden Hearing Loss Treatment Solutions
The good news here is, whether your sudden hearing loss is related to diabetes or infection (or any of these other problems), successful management of the underlying cause will usually bring your hearing back to normal levels if you catch it early. Once the obstruction is removed or, with diabetes, once blood circulation problems have been managed, your hearing will likely get back to normal if you addressed it quickly.
But quick and effective treatment is the key here. There are some disorders that can result in permanent harm if they go neglected (diabetes is, again, one of those conditions). So it’s vital that you get medical treatment as quickly as you can, 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 might be easier to detect, and you might catch it sooner if you get regular hearing screenings. These screenings can usually uncover specific hearing problems before they become noticeable to you.
Diabetes and hearing loss have one other thing in common: it’s best to get them treated as soon as possible. Other issues, like deterioration of cognitive function, can result from neglected hearing loss. Give us a call to schedule a hearing test.