The Connection Between Diabetes And Hearing Loss

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

Hearing loss can catch you by surprise, it’s true. 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 notice 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 worried.

It’s times like this when hearing loss seems to strike suddenly, as if from the shadows somewhere, that it’s a good idea to seek out some medical assistance. The reason why you should seek help is that sudden hearing loss is often a symptom of an underlying medical problem. In some cases, that larger issue can be an obstruction in your ear. Maybe some earwax.

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

What is Diabetes?

If you don’t immediately recognize the connection 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 properly broken down and converted into energy. When your body doesn’t generate enough insulin or can’t process the insulin it is producing, this is the result. This is why insulin injections are the most prevalent type of diabetes treatments.

What is The Link Between Diabetes And Hearing?

Diabetes is a common, sometimes degenerative (and complex), affliction. It needs to be managed cautiously, in most cases with the help of your physician. But what does that have to do with your ears?

Believe it or not, a fairly common indicator of type 2 diabetes is sudden hearing loss. The connection is based on the ability of diabetes to cause collateral damage, most often to nerves and blood vessels around the extremities. Tiny tiny hairs in your ears (called stereocilia and in control of your ability to hear) are especially sensitive to exactly those changes. So you might suffer sudden hearing loss even before other, more traditional symptoms of diabetes kick in (numb toes, for instance).

Is There Anything I Can Do?

You’ii want to get medical attention if your hearing has suddenly started giving you trouble. Diabetes, for instance, will often be completely symptomless at first, so you might not even know you have it until you start to notice some of these warning signs.

As is the case with most forms of hearing loss, the sooner you find treatment, the more possibilities you’ll have. But it’s not only diabetes you need to be watchful for. Here are a few other possible triggers of sudden hearing loss:

  • Infections of various types.
  • Blood pressure issues.
  • Autoimmune conditions.
  • An obstruction in the ear (such as an build-up of earwax).
  • Problems with blood circulation (often the consequence of other issues like diabetes).
  • Tissue growth in the ear.

It can be tough 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

Regardless of which of these your sudden hearing loss is triggered by, if you identify it early enough, your hearing will typically go back 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 quick and efficient treatment is the key here. If they are not addressed in time, some conditions, including diabetes, will result in permanent damage to your hearing. So it’s vital that you find medical treatment as quickly as you can, 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 get regular hearing screenings. Specific hearing issues can be identified in these screenings before you notice them.

Diabetes and hearing loss have one other thing in common: it’s best to get them treated as soon as possible. Other problems, like degeneration of cognitive function, can result from neglected hearing loss. Call us 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.

Questions? Talk To Us.