The Link 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 issues suddenly pounce you like a cat instead of sneaking up on you. It could happen like this: you get up, pull yourself out of bed, and maybe you don’t detect it until you finish showering but your hearing feels…off, or different Maybe muffled.

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 worried.

At times like these, when you have a sudden drastic change to your hearing, you should seek out medical attention. That’s because sudden hearing loss can frequently be a symptom of a larger problem. In some cases, that larger issue can be a blockage in your ear. It could be just a bit of earwax.

And sometimes that sudden hearing loss can be caused by diabetes.

What is Diabetes?

If you don’t instantly recognize 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 occurs because your body either isn’t producing enough insulin or it’s not reacting to the insulin that you do make. This is why insulin injections are the most common form of diabetes treatments.

What Does Diabetes Have to do With Your Hearing?

Diabetes is a common complex affliction which can often be degenerative. It needs to be handled cautiously, normally with the help of your physician. So how is that associated with your hearing?

Well, it turns out that sudden hearing loss can often be a sign that you’re developing type 2 diabetes. The link lies in the ability of diabetes to create 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 even before other more well known diabetes symptoms manifest (such as numb toes), you may experience sudden hearing loss.

Is There Anything I Can Do?

You’ii want to get medical attention if your hearing has suddenly started giving you trouble. You might not even know that you have diabetes at first, but these warning signs will begin to clue you in.

Seeking out help as soon as possible will give you the greatest number of options, as is the case for most forms of hearing loss. But you need to keep an eye out for more than just diabetes. Sudden hearing loss could be caused by:

  • Autoimmune diseases.
  • Tissue growth in the ear.
  • A blockage in the ear (like an build-up of earwax).
  • Some kinds of infections.
  • Problems with blood circulation (often caused by other problems like diabetes).
  • Blood pressure problems.

Without an appropriate medical diagnosis, it can be difficult to figure out the cause of your sudden hearing loss and how to treat the underlying symptoms.

Treatment Options For Sudden Hearing Loss

The good news here is, whether your sudden hearing loss is caused by diabetes or infection (or any of these other problems), successful treatment of the underlying cause will usually return 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 problems have been addressed, your hearing will likely return to normal if you addressed it quickly.

But that truly does rely on quick and effective treatment. If they are not treated in time, some conditions, like diabetes, will bring about permanent damage to your hearing. So it’s vital that you find 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 might catch it sooner if you undergo regular hearing screenings. These screenings can usually detect specific hearing issues before they become noticeable to you.

Hearing loss and diabetes have one other thing in common: it’s best to get them treated as soon as possible. Neglected hearing loss can lead to other health concerns like loss of cognitive function. Schedule 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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