Hearing loss can sneak up on you, it’s true. But sometimes, hearing problems bypass the sneaking entirely, 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 detect your hearing seems off or different. Muffled, maybe.
You just assume that you got some water in your ears, but as the day continues, and there’s no improvement, you begin to get a little concerned.
It’s times like this when hearing loss seems to strike suddenly, as if from the shadows somewhere, that it’s a good decision to get some medical attention. The reason why you should seek help is that sudden hearing loss is commonly a symptom of an underlying medical 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 links between hearing loss and diabetes. Your pancreas and your ears seem very far apart, distance-wise.
Type 2 diabetes is an ailment in which your body has trouble processing sugars into energy. When your body doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t process the insulin it is producing, 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 physician, it needs to be managed carefully. So how is that associated with your ears?
Well, it turns out that sudden hearing loss can often be a sign that you’re experiencing type 2 diabetes. Collateral damage to other parts of the body is common with diabetes which often has an affect on blood vessels and nerves. These exact changes have a powerful affect on the tiny hairs in your ears responsible for your hearing (called stereocilia). So you might experience sudden hearing loss even before other, more conventional symptoms of diabetes kick in (numb toes, for instance).
What Should I do?
You’ii want to get medical help if your hearing has suddenly started acting up. Diabetes, for example, will frequently be completely symptomless initially, so you might not even realize you have it until you start to observe some of these warning signs.
Seeking out help as soon as possible will give you the largest number of possibilities, as is the situation for most types of hearing loss. But you need to watch out for more than just diabetes. Sudden hearing loss can also be caused by:
- Some kinds of infections.
- Blood pressure problems.
- Growth of tissue in the ear.
- An obstruction in the ear (like an build-up of earwax).
- Blood circulation issues (these are sometimes a result of other problems, such as diabetes).
- Autoimmune conditions.
Without an appropriate medical diagnosis, it can be difficult to figure out the cause of your sudden hearing loss and how to address the underlying symptoms.
Sudden Hearing Loss Treatment Options
Here’s the good news, whether your sudden hearing loss is brought on by diabetes or infection (or any of these other issues), successful treatment of the underlying cause will usually return your hearing back to healthy levels if you recognize it early. 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 efficient treatment is the key here. If they are not addressed in time, some conditions, like diabetes, will result in irreversible damage to your hearing. So it’s vital that you get medical treatment as quickly as you can, and if you’re experiencing hearing loss get that treated.
Keep an Eye on Your Ears
If you undergo routine hearing screenings, sudden hearing loss may be easier to identify and you may stop it from sneaking up on you by detecting it sooner. Specific hearing issues can be identified in these screenings before you notice them.
There’s one more thing that diabetes and hearing loss share, treating them sooner will bring better results. Other problems, including deterioration of cognitive function, can result from neglected hearing loss. Call us to schedule a hearing test.