Edison Stanford Intelligent Hearing - Salt Lake City, Draper, and Provo, UT

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

It’s true, hearing loss can catch you by surprise. But in some cases, hearing issues bypass the sneaking altogether, in favor of a sudden (and often startling), cat-like pounce. Here’s a hypothetical: You get up one morning and jump in the shower and when you get out you notice your hearing seems off or different. Maybe muffled.

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

At times like these, when you experience a sudden profound difference in your hearing, you should seek out medical help. That’s because sudden hearing loss can frequently be a symptom of a bigger problem. It might be a simple matter of an obstruction in your ear. It may be just a bit of earwax.

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

Diabetes – What is it?

You’d be forgiven for not instantly seeing the links between hearing loss and diabetes. Your pancreas seems like it’s pretty far away from your ears.

Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which your body has trouble breaking down sugars into energy. This occurs because your body either isn’t generating enough insulin or it’s not responding to the insulin that you do make. That’s why treatments for diabetes normally entail injections or infusions of insulin.

What Does Diabetes Have to do With Your Hearing?

Diabetes is a common, often degenerative (and complex), affliction. With the help of your doctor, 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 often be an indication that you’re developing type 2 diabetes. The connection is based on the ability of diabetes to create collateral damage, typically to nerves and blood vessels around the extremities. Tiny hairs in your ears (called stereocilia and responsible for your ability to hear) are especially sensitive to those exact changes. So even before other more widely recognized diabetes symptoms manifest (such as numb toes), you could go through 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 example, will often be totally symptomless initially, so you might not even recognize you have it until you start to see some of these red flags.

As is the case with most forms of hearing loss, the sooner you seek out treatment, the more options you’ll have. But it’s not just diabetes you need to be watchful for. Here are a few other possible triggers of sudden hearing loss:

  • Autoimmune disorders.
  • Tissue growth in the ear.
  • An obstruction in the ear (such as an ear wax build-up).
  • Some types of infections.
  • Issues with your blood pressure.
  • Issues with blood circulation (sometimes the consequence of other problems such as diabetes).

It can be difficult to know what’s causing your sudden hearing loss or what you should do about it without a medical diagnosis.

Treatment Solutions For Sudden Hearing Loss

Here’s the good news, whether your sudden hearing loss is caused by diabetes or infection (or any of these other problems), successful treatment of the underlying cause will usually bring your hearing back to normal levels if you recognize it early. Once the obstruction is removed or, in the case of diabetes, once blood circulation issues have been addressed, your hearing will very likely get back to normal if you addressed it quickly.

But quick and efficient management is the key here. If they are not treated in time, some conditions, like diabetes, will bring about irreversible harm to your hearing. So if you’re coping with any type or degree of hearing loss, get it treated now.

Keep an Eye on Your Ears

If you get regular hearing screenings, sudden hearing loss might be easier to identify and you may stop it from sneaking up on you by catching it sooner. These screenings can usually uncover specific hearing issues before they become obvious to you.

There’s one more thing that diabetes and hearing loss share, treating them sooner will bring better outcomes. Other issues, including degeneration of cognitive function, can result from untreated hearing loss. Give us a call to schedule a hearing test.

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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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