Audiology Associates of North Florida - Tallahassee, FL

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 rather than sneaking up on you. Here’s a hypothetical: You get up one morning and jump in the shower and when you get out you detect your hearing seems off or different. Maybe muffled.

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

It’s these moments when hearing loss seems to attack suddenly, as if out of nowhere, that it’s a smart plan to get some medical help. That’s because sudden hearing loss can frequently be a symptom of a bigger problem. At times, that larger problem can be a blockage in your ear. Perhaps some earwax.

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

What is Diabetes?

You’d be forgiven for not instantly seeing the links between hearing loss and diabetes. Your ears and your pancreas 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 producing, this is the outcome. This is why insulin injections are the most common type of diabetes treatments.

What Does Diabetes Have to do With Your Hearing?

Diabetes is a common, often degenerative (and complex), affliction. With the assistance of your doctor, it needs to be managed cautiously. So how is that related to your hearing?

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

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 frequently be totally symptomless initially, so you may not even know you have it until you start to observe some of these warning signs.

As is the case with most forms of hearing loss, the sooner you get treatment, the more possibilities you’ll have. But it’s not just diabetes you need to be watchful for. Sudden hearing loss can also be caused by:

  • Growth of tissue in the ear.
  • Earwax buildup or other obstructions.
  • Blood circulation issues (these are often a result of other problems, like diabetes).
  • Infections of various types.
  • Autoimmune diseases.
  • Blood pressure problems.

It can be difficult 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 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 really does depend on quick and effective treatment. There are some disorders that can result in permanent harm if they go neglected (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 undergo routine hearing screenings, sudden hearing loss might be easier to detect and you may stop it from sneaking up on you by detecting it sooner. Specific hearing problems can be identified in these screenings before you observe them.

Diabetes and hearing loss have one other thing in common: the sooner you get treatment, the better. Other issues, including deterioration of cognitive function, can result from untreated hearing loss. Make an appointment with us for a hearing assessment right away.

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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.
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