Hearing Loss And Diabetes, What’s The Connection?

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 rather than sneaking up on you. It could happen like this: you get up, drag yourself out of bed, and perhaps you don’t detect it until you get out of the shower but your hearing feels…off, or different Muffled, maybe.

Initially, 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 little more concerned.

At times like these, when you have a sudden profound change to your hearing, you should get medical help. The reason why you should get help is that sudden hearing loss is commonly a symptom of an underlying medical issue. It may be a simple matter of an obstruction 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 instantly recognize the link between hearing loss and diabetes that would be understandable. Your pancreas seems pretty far away from your ears.

Type 2 diabetes is an ailment in which your body has trouble processing sugars into energy. This happens because your body either isn’t generating enough insulin or it’s not responding to the insulin that you do make. This is why insulin injections are the most common form of diabetes treatments.

What is The Link Between Diabetes And Hearing?

Diabetes is a common complicated condition which can often be degenerative. It needs to be managed cautiously, usually with the help of your physician. 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, most often to nerves and blood vessels around the extremities. These precise changes have a strong affect on the delicate hairs in your ears responsible for your hearing (called stereocilia). So even before other more common diabetes symptoms manifest (like numb toes), you might go through sudden hearing loss.

What Should I do?

If you’re in this situation, and your hearing has suddenly started acting up, you’ll definitely want to get checked by a medical professional. You may not even realize that you have diabetes at first, but these red flags will start to clue you in.

Getting help as soon as possible will give you the largest number of possibilities, as is the situation for most forms of hearing loss. But you should keep an eye out for more than just diabetes. Sudden hearing loss could be caused by:

  • Issues with blood circulation (often the result of other issues like diabetes).
  • Tissue growth in the ear.
  • Infections of various types.
  • Autoimmune conditions.
  • Blood pressure problems.
  • A blockage in the ear (like an ear wax build-up).

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

Sudden Hearing Loss Treatment Options

Here’s the good news, whether your sudden hearing loss is related to diabetes or infection (or any of these other issues), effective management of the underlying cause will usually return your hearing back to normal levels if you catch it early. 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. If they are not treated in time, some conditions, like diabetes, will result in irreversible harm to your hearing. So it’s vital that you get 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 may be easier to identify and you might stop it from sneaking up on you by detecting it sooner. Specific hearing issues can be identified in these screenings before you observe them.

Diabetes and hearing loss have one other thing in common: it’s best to get them treated as soon as possible. Neglected hearing loss can produce other health concerns such as loss of cognitive function. Schedule an appointment with us for a hearing exam right away.

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.