It’s true, hearing loss can sneak up on you. But in some cases, hearing problems bypass the sneaking completely, in favor of a sudden (and often startling), cat-like pounce. Here’s a hypothetical: You wake up one morning and jump in the shower and when you get out you detect your hearing seems off or different. Muffled, maybe.
You just suspect that you got some water in your ears, but as the day continues, and there’s no difference, you start to get a bit concerned.
At times like this, when you have a sudden profound change to your hearing, you should get medical attention. The reason why you should get help is that sudden hearing loss is often a symptom of an underlying medical problem. It may be a simple matter of a blockage in your ear. It might be just a bit of earwax.
But sudden hearing loss can also be a sign of diabetes.
Diabetes – What is it?
If you don’t instantly identify the connection between hearing loss and diabetes that would be understandable. Your pancreas seems like it’s a long way from your ears.
With type 2 diabetes, sugars in your body aren’t efficiently broken down and converted into energy. When your body doesn’t generate enough insulin or can’t process the insulin it is making, this is the outcome. That’s why treatments for diabetes usually entail injections or infusions of insulin.
What Does Diabetes Have to do With Your Hearing?
Diabetes is a common, sometimes degenerative (and complicated), affliction. It needs to be managed carefully, normally with the help of your doctor. But what does that have to do with your hearing?
Well, it turns out that sudden hearing loss can frequently be a sign that you’re developing type 2 diabetes. Collateral damage to other parts of the body is common with diabetes which frequently has an affect on blood vessels and nerves. Tiny hairs in your ears (called stereocilia and responsible for your ability to hear) are particularly sensitive to those exact changes. So even before other more well known diabetes symptoms show up (like numb toes), you may go through sudden hearing loss.
What Should I do?
You’ii want to get medical help if your hearing has suddenly started acting up. Diabetes, for instance, will often be totally symptomless initially, so you might not even know you have it until you start to notice some of these warning signs.
As is the situation with most forms 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 some other possible triggers of sudden hearing loss:
- Earwax buildup or other obstructions.
- Blood circulation issues (these are often a result of other issues, such as diabetes).
- Autoimmune conditions.
- Infections of varied types.
- Issues with your blood pressure.
- Tissue growth in the ear.
It can be hard to know what’s causing your sudden hearing loss or what to do about it without a medical diagnosis.
Treatment Solutions For Sudden Hearing Loss
Regardless of which of these your sudden hearing loss is triggered by, if you identify it early enough, your hearing will typically return to normal with correct treatment. Once the blockage is removed or, with diabetes, once blood circulation problems have been managed, your hearing will likely get back to normal if you dealt with it promptly.
But quick and effective management is the key here. If they are not addressed in time, some conditions, including diabetes, will lead to permanent damage to your hearing. So it’s essential that you find medical treatment as quickly as possible, and if you’re experiencing hearing loss get that treated.
Pay Attention to Your Hearing
If you get routine hearing screenings, sudden hearing loss might 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 observe them.
There’s one more thing that diabetes and hearing loss have in common, treating them sooner will bring better outcomes. Other problems, including degeneration of cognitive function, can result from untreated hearing loss. Make an appointment with us for a hearing assessment right away.