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 sneak up on you. 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 wake up, pull yourself out of bed, and maybe you don’t detect it until you finish showering but your hearing feels…off, or different Muffled, maybe.

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

At times like this, when you have a sudden drastic change to your hearing, you should seek medical help. That’s because sudden hearing loss can often be a symptom of a bigger problem. It could be a simple matter of an obstruction in your ear. It might be just a bit of earwax.

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

Diabetes – What is it?

If you don’t instantly identify the connection between hearing loss and diabetes that would be understandable. Your pancreas and your ears seem really far apart, distance-wise.

Type 2 diabetes is an ailment in which your body has difficulty processing sugars into energy. This happens because your body either isn’t making enough insulin or it’s not reacting to the insulin that you do make. 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 complex), affliction. It needs to be managed cautiously, normally with the help of your physician. So how is that related to your hearing?

Believe it or not, a pretty common indicator of type 2 diabetes is sudden hearing loss. Collateral damage to other areas 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 those exact changes. So even before other more well known diabetes symptoms appear (such as numb toes), you may 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 certainly want to get looked at by a medical professional. You may not even be aware that you have diabetes in the beginning, but these red flags will begin to clue you in.

As is the situation 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 could be caused by:

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

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

Treatment Options For Sudden Hearing Loss

The good news here is, whether your sudden hearing loss is brought on by diabetes or infection (or any of these other problems), successful treatment of the underlying cause will often bring your hearing back to healthy levels if you recognize it early. Once the blockage is removed or, in the case of diabetes, once blood circulation issues have been addressed, your hearing will likely return to normal if you addressed it quickly.

But quick and effective management is the key here. There are some conditions that can cause irreversible damage if they go neglected (diabetes is, again, one of those conditions). 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

Sudden hearing loss catch you by surprise, but it might be easier to detect, and you could catch it sooner if you undergo regular hearing screenings. Specific hearing problems can be identified in these screenings before you notice them.

There’s one more thing that diabetes and hearing loss share, treating them sooner will bring better results. Neglected hearing loss can trigger other health concerns such as loss of cognitive function. Make 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.