Hearing Loss And Diabetes, What’s The Link?

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

It’s true, hearing loss can catch you by surprise. But sometimes, hearing problems bypass the sneaking entirely, in favor of a sudden (and often alarming), cat-like pounce. 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. Maybe muffled.

You just assume that you got some water in your ears, but as the day progresses, and there’s no improvement, 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 assistance. That’s because sudden hearing loss can frequently be a symptom of a larger issue. It might be a simple matter of an obstruction in your ear. It could be just a bit of earwax.

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

Diabetes – What is it?

If you don’t instantly identify the link between hearing loss and diabetes that would be understandable. Your pancreas seems pretty far away from your ears.

With type 2 diabetes, sugars in your body aren’t efficiently broken down and converted into energy. This happens because your body either isn’t producing enough insulin or it’s not responding to the insulin that you do produce. This is why insulin injections are the most prevalent type of diabetes treatments.

What Does Diabetes Have to do With Your Hearing?

Diabetes is a common, sometimes degenerative (and complicated), affliction. With the help of your physician, it needs to be handled cautiously. But what does that have to do 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 often has an affect on blood vessels and nerves. Tiny hairs in your ears (called stereocilia and responsible for your ability to hear) are particularly sensitive to exactly those changes. So even before other more common diabetes symptoms appear (like numb toes), you could go through sudden hearing loss.

What Should I do?

If you’re in this scenario, and your hearing has suddenly started giving you trouble, you’ll certainly want to get looked over by a medical professional. Diabetes, for example, will frequently be entirely symptomless at first, so you may not even recognize you have it until you start to see some of these red flags.

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 need to keep an eye out for more than just diabetes. Here are some other possible causes of sudden hearing loss:

  • Blood circulation issues (these are often a result of other issues, such as diabetes).
  • Some kinds of infections.
  • Blood pressure problems.
  • Tissue growth in the ear.
  • Autoimmune diseases.
  • A blockage in the ear (like an build-up of earwax).

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

Sudden Hearing Loss Treatment Options

The good news here is, whether your sudden hearing loss is caused by diabetes or infection (or any of these other issues), effective treatment of the underlying cause will usually bring your hearing back to normal levels if you recognize it early. Once the obstruction is removed or, with diabetes, once blood circulation issues have been addressed, your hearing will very likely return to normal if you dealt with it promptly.

But that truly does rely on prompt and effective treatment. If they are not treated in time, some conditions, including diabetes, will bring about permanent harm to your hearing. So it’s essential that you seek out medical treatment as quickly as possible, and if you’re suffering from hearing loss get that treated.

Pay Attention to Your Hearing

If you get routine hearing screenings, sudden hearing loss could be easier to detect and you may stop it from sneaking up on you by catching it sooner. Specific hearing issues can be identified in these screenings before you notice them.

Diabetes and hearing loss have one other thing in common: the sooner you get treatment, the better. Other problems, like deterioration of cognitive function, can result from neglected hearing loss. Contact us to schedule a hearing test.

The content of this blog is the intellectual property of MedPB.com and is reprinted here with permission. The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive a hearing aid consultation, call today to schedule an appointment.