Hearing Loss And Diabetes, What’s The Link?

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

Hearing loss can sneak up on you, it’s true. But sometimes, hearing problems bypass the sneaking altogether, in favor of a sudden (and often startling), cat-like pounce. It could happen like this: you get up, drag yourself out of bed, and maybe you don’t detect it until you finish showering but your hearing feels…off, or different Maybe muffled.

You just suspect that you got some water in your ears, but as the day continues, and there’s no difference, you begin to get a little concerned.

It’s times like this when hearing loss seems to attack suddenly, as if out of nowhere, that it’s a smart decision to get some medical help. 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.

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

Diabetes – What is it?

You’d be forgiven for not quickly seeing the links between hearing loss and diabetes. 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 usually involve injections or infusions of insulin.

What is The Link Between Diabetes And Hearing?

Diabetes is a common complicated condition which can sometimes be degenerative. With the help of your physician, it has to be handled carefully. So how is that associated with your hearing?

Well, it turns out that sudden hearing loss can frequently be a sign that you’re experiencing type 2 diabetes. Collateral damage to other areas of the body is common with diabetes which commonly has an impact on blood vessels and nerves. Tiny tiny hairs in your ears (called stereocilia and responsible for your ability to hear) are particularly sensitive to exactly those changes. So you could suffer sudden hearing loss even before other, more conventional symptoms of diabetes kick in (numb toes, for instance).

What Should I do?

If you’re in this situation, and your hearing has suddenly begun giving you trouble, you’ll certainly want to get looked over by a medical professional. Diabetes, for example, will frequently be entirely symptomless initially, so you might 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 forms of hearing loss. But you need to keep an eye out for more than just diabetes. Sudden hearing loss can also be caused by:

  • Earwax buildup or other obstructions.
  • Blood pressure issues.
  • Infections of varied types.
  • Autoimmune diseases.
  • Blood circulation problems (these are often a result of other issues, like diabetes).
  • Tissue growth in the ear.

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 triggered by, if you catch it soon enough, your hearing will usually 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 that really does rely on prompt and efficient treatment. There are some conditions that can cause irreversible damage if they go neglected (diabetes is, again, one of those conditions). So it’s vital that you get medical treatment as quickly as possible, and if you’re experiencing hearing loss get that treated.

Keep an Eye on Your Ears

If you undergo regular hearing screenings, sudden hearing loss might be easier to identify and you might stop it from sneaking up on you by detecting it sooner. Specific hearing problems can be detected in these screenings before you notice them.

There’s one more thing that diabetes and hearing loss share, managing them sooner will bring better outcomes. Neglected hearing loss can result in other health concerns like loss of cognitive function. Schedule an appointment with us for a hearing assessment 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.