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 there are times when hearing problems suddenly pounce you like a cat rather than sneaking up on you. It could happen like this: you wake up, pull yourself out of bed, and perhaps you don’t notice until you get out of the shower but your hearing feels…off, or different Maybe muffled.

Initially, you chalk it up to water in your ears, but when your hearing doesn’t get any better as the day advances, you get a bit more worried.

At times like this, when you experience a sudden profound change to your hearing, you should get medical help. That’s because sudden hearing loss can often be a symptom of a larger problem. It might be a simple matter of a blockage in your ear. Maybe some earwax.

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

Diabetes – What is it?

You’d be forgiven for not immediately seeing the connections between hearing loss and diabetes. Your ears and your pancreas seem really far apart, distance-wise.

With type 2 diabetes, sugars in your body aren’t properly broken down and converted into energy. This occurs 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 normally involve injections or infusions of insulin.

What is The Connection Between Diabetes And Hearing?

Diabetes is a common, often degenerative (and complex), affliction. It needs to be handled carefully, normally with the help of your doctor. So how is that associated with your hearing?

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

Is There Anything I Can Do?

You’ii want to get medical help if your hearing has suddenly started acting up. Diabetes, for example, will often be entirely symptomless at first, so you may not even know you have it until you begin to observe some of these red flags.

Seeking out help as soon as possible will give you the largest number of options, as is the case for most forms of hearing loss. But you should watch out for more than just diabetes. Here are some other possible causes of sudden hearing loss:

  • A blockage in the ear (such as an build-up of earwax).
  • Growth of tissue in the ear.
  • Autoimmune disorders.
  • Blood pressure problems.
  • Some kinds of infections.
  • Problems with blood circulation (sometimes the result of other issues including diabetes).

Without a proper medical diagnosis, it can be challenging to figure out what’s causing your sudden hearing loss and how to handle the root symptoms.

Treatment Options For Sudden Hearing Loss

Regardless of which of these your sudden hearing loss is caused by, if you identify it soon enough, your hearing will usually return to normal with proper 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 truly does depend on prompt and efficient treatment. If they are not addressed in time, some conditions, like diabetes, will result in irreversible harm 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

If you get regular hearing screenings, sudden hearing loss may be easier to identify and you may stop it from sneaking up on you by detecting it sooner. These screenings can typically detect specific hearing issues before they become noticeable to you.

Hearing loss and diabetes have one other thing in common: the sooner you get treatment, the better. Other problems, like degeneration of cognitive function, can result from untreated hearing loss. 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.