The Link Between Diabetes And Hearing Loss

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

It’s true, hearing loss can catch you by surprise. 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 detect it until you get out of the shower but your hearing feels…off, or different Muffled, maybe.

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

It’s times like this when hearing loss seems to strike 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. Sometimes, that larger issue can be a blockage in your ear. It could be just a bit of earwax.

But sudden hearing loss can also be a sign of diabetes.

What is Diabetes?

If you don’t immediately identify the connection between hearing loss and diabetes that would be understandable. Your pancreas and your ears seem really far apart, distance-wise.

Type 2 diabetes is an ailment in which your body has difficulty processing sugars into energy. When your body doesn’t generate enough insulin or can’t process the insulin it is making, this is the result. This is why insulin injections are the most prevalent form of diabetes treatments.

What is The Connection Between Diabetes And Hearing?

Diabetes is a common, often degenerative (and complex), affliction. With the assistance of your doctor, it needs to be managed carefully. But what does that have to do with your ears?

Well, it turns out that sudden hearing loss can frequently be an indication that you’re experiencing type 2 diabetes. The connection lies in the ability of diabetes to create collateral damage, frequently to nerves and blood vessels around the extremities. These precise changes have a strong affect on the tiny hairs in your ears responsible for your hearing (called stereocilia). So even before other more well known diabetes symptoms manifest (such as numb toes), you could experience sudden hearing loss.

Is There Anything I Can Do?

You’ii want to get medical help if your hearing has suddenly started acting up. You might not even realize that you have diabetes in the beginning, but these warning signs will begin to clue you in.

As is the case with most forms of hearing loss, the sooner you find treatment, the more options you’ll have. But you need to watch for more than just diabetes. Sudden hearing loss can also be caused by:

  • A blockage in the ear (like an build-up of earwax).
  • Autoimmune disorders.
  • Issues with your blood pressure.
  • Infections of various types.
  • Issues with blood circulation (sometimes the result of other problems such as diabetes).
  • Growth of tissue in the ear.

Without an appropriate medical diagnosis, it can be challenging to figure out what’s causing your sudden hearing loss and how to manage the underlying symptoms.

Treatment Options For Sudden Hearing Loss

The good news here is, whether your sudden hearing loss is related to diabetes or infection (or any of these other issues), successful treatment of the underlying cause will usually bring your hearing back to normal levels if you catch it early. Once the blockage is removed or, in the case of diabetes, once blood circulation problems have been managed, your hearing will very likely return to normal if you addressed it promptly.

But quick and efficient treatment is the key here. If they are not treated in time, some conditions, including diabetes, will bring about 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.

Keep an Eye on Your Ears

If you get routine hearing screenings, sudden hearing loss may be easier to identify and you might stop it from sneaking up on you by detecting it sooner. Specific hearing issues can be detected in these screenings before you observe them.

There’s one more thing that diabetes and hearing loss have in common, managing them sooner will bring better outcomes. Untreated hearing loss can produce other health concerns like loss of cognitive function. Contact us to schedule a hearing test.

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.