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 sneak up on you. But there are times when hearing problems suddenly pounce you like a cat instead of sneaking up on you. Here’s a hypothetical: You get up one morning and go into the shower and when you get out you detect your hearing seems off or different. Muffled, maybe.

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

At times like this, when you experience a sudden severe change to your hearing, you should seek out medical help. That’s because sudden hearing loss can frequently be a symptom of a larger issue. At times, that larger problem can be an obstruction in your ear. Maybe some earwax.

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

Diabetes – What is it?

If you don’t immediately identify the connection between hearing loss and diabetes that would be understandable. Your pancreas seems like it’s a long way from your ears.

Type 2 diabetes is an ailment in which your body has trouble breaking down sugars into energy. This happens because your body either isn’t producing enough insulin or it’s not reacting to the insulin that you do produce. 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, sometimes degenerative (and complicated), affliction. It needs to be managed carefully, in most cases with the help of your physician. So how is that associated 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 lies in the ability of diabetes to create collateral damage, most often to nerves and blood vessels around the extremities. These exact changes have a powerful impact on the little hairs in your ears responsible for your hearing (called stereocilia). So you might experience sudden hearing loss even before other, more conventional symptoms of diabetes kick in (numb toes, for instance).

What Should I do?

If you’re in this scenario, and your hearing has suddenly started giving you trouble, you’ll definitely want to get looked over by a medical professional. You might not even be aware that you have diabetes at first, but these red flags will begin to clue you in.

Getting help as soon as possible will give you the largest number of options, as is the case for most types of hearing loss. But you should watch out for more than just diabetes. Sudden hearing loss could be caused by:

  • Problems with blood circulation (often the result of other problems such as diabetes).
  • Infections of varied types.
  • Problems with your blood pressure.
  • Autoimmune disorders.
  • Earwax buildup or other obstructions.
  • Tissue growth in the ear.

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

The good news here is, 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 recognize 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 that truly does rely on prompt and effective treatment. There are some disorders that can cause permanent damage if they go neglected (diabetes is, again, one of those conditions). So if you’re dealing with any type or degree of hearing loss, get it treated now.

Pay Attention to Your Hearing

Sudden hearing loss can sneak up on you, but it may be easier to detect, and you might catch it sooner if you get regular hearing screenings. Specific hearing problems can be detected 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. Untreated hearing loss can lead to other health concerns like loss of cognitive function. Give us a call 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.