Illini Hearing - Champaign and Mahomet, IL

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

It’s true, hearing loss can sneak up on you. But there are times when hearing problems 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 maybe you don’t notice until you finish showering but your hearing feels…off, or different Muffled, maybe.

At first, you think that you have water in your ears, but when your hearing doesn’t get any better as the day advances, you get a bit more concerned.

It’s times like this when hearing loss seems to attack suddenly, as if from the shadows somewhere, that it’s a smart plan to get some medical help. That’s because sudden hearing loss can often be a symptom of a larger problem. In some cases, that larger issue can be an obstruction in your ear. It could be just a bit of earwax.

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

Diabetes – What is it?

If you don’t immediately recognize the connection between hearing loss and diabetes that would be understandable. 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. This happens because your body either isn’t making enough insulin or it’s not reacting to the insulin that you do make. This is why insulin injections are the most prevalent type of diabetes treatments.

What is The Connection Between Diabetes And Hearing?

Diabetes is a common complicated condition which can sometimes be degenerative. With the help of your doctor, it needs to be handled carefully. So how is that related to your hearing?

Believe it or not, a pretty common indicator of type 2 diabetes is sudden hearing loss. The connection is based on the ability of diabetes to cause collateral damage, frequently to nerves and blood vessels around the extremities. These exact changes have a strong impact on the tiny hairs in your ears responsible for your hearing (called stereocilia). So even before other more common diabetes symptoms show up (such as 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 giving you trouble. Diabetes, for instance, will frequently be completely symptomless initially, so you might not even realize you have it until you begin to observe some of these red flags.

As is the situation with most forms of hearing loss, the sooner you seek out treatment, the more options you’ll have. But you need to watch out for more than just diabetes. Here are a few other possible triggers of sudden hearing loss:

  • Infections of various types.
  • Autoimmune conditions.
  • Growth of tissue in the ear.
  • An obstruction in the ear (such as an ear wax build-up).
  • Blood circulation issues (these are often caused by other problems, like diabetes).
  • Blood pressure issues.

Without an appropriate medical diagnosis, it can be difficult to figure out the cause of your sudden hearing loss and how to treat the root symptoms.

Sudden Hearing Loss Treatment Solutions

The good news here is, whether your sudden hearing loss is brought on by diabetes or infection (or any of these other issues), effective management of the underlying cause will often bring your hearing back to healthy levels if you recognize it early. Once the blockage is removed or, with diabetes, once blood circulation issues have been managed, your hearing will very likely get back to normal if you dealt with it promptly.

But quick and efficient treatment is the key here. If they are not addressed in time, some conditions, including diabetes, will lead to irreversible damage to your hearing. So if you’re dealing with any type or degree of hearing loss, have it treated now.

Pay Attention to Your Hearing

Sudden hearing loss can sneak up on you, but it might be easier to detect, and you could catch it sooner if you get regular hearing screenings. These screenings can typically uncover specific hearing problems before they become obvious to you.

There’s one more thing that diabetes and hearing loss have in common, managing them sooner will bring better results. Untreated hearing loss can trigger other health concerns like loss of cognitive function. Make an appointment with us for a hearing exam right away.

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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.
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