Stephenville, TX

Abilene, Stephenville and Brownwood, TX

Hearing Loss And Diabetes, What’s The Connection?

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

Hearing loss can sneak up on you, it’s true. But in some cases, hearing issues bypass the sneaking entirely, in favor of a sudden (and often startling), cat-like pounce. Here’s a hypothetical: You wake up one morning and go into the shower and when you get out you notice your hearing seems off or different. Maybe muffled.

Initially, you chalk it up to water in your ears, but when your hearing doesn’t improve as the day progresses, you get a bit more concerned.

At times like these, when you experience a sudden drastic difference in your hearing, you should seek out medical help. The reason why you should get help is that sudden hearing loss is usually a symptom of an underlying medical issue. It might be a simple matter of an obstruction in your ear. Perhaps some earwax.

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

What is Diabetes?

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

Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which your body has trouble breaking down sugars into energy. When your body doesn’t generate enough insulin or can’t process the insulin it is producing, this is the outcome. 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 complicated condition which can often be degenerative. With the help of your physician, it has to be handled carefully. So how is that associated with your ears?

Believe it or not, a fairly common sign of type 2 diabetes is sudden hearing loss. 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 exactly those 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 help if your hearing has suddenly started giving you trouble. Diabetes, for instance, will frequently be entirely symptomless initially, so you may not even know 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 get treatment, the more possibilities you’ll have. But you should watch out for more than just diabetes. Sudden hearing loss can also be caused by:

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

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

Treatment Options For Sudden Hearing Loss

Regardless of which of these your sudden hearing loss is caused by, if you catch it early enough, your hearing will typically go back to normal with correct 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 quick and effective treatment is the key here. There are some disorders that can cause permanent harm if they go untreated (diabetes is, again, one of those conditions). So if you’re coping 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 could be easier to detect and you may stop it from sneaking up on you by detecting it sooner. These screenings can normally 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 outcomes. Neglected hearing loss can trigger other health concerns like loss of cognitive function. Call 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.

Questions? Talk To Us.