The Link Between Hearing Loss and Diabetes

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

Hearing loss can catch you by surprise, it’s true. But occasionally, hearing issues bypass the sneaking altogether, in favor of a sudden (and often startling), cat-like pounce. Here’s a hypothetical: You wake up one morning and go into the shower and when you get out you detect your hearing seems off or different. Maybe muffled.

At first, you think that you have water in your ears, but when your hearing doesn’t improve as the day progresses, you get a little more concerned.

It’s these moments when hearing loss seems to attack suddenly, as if from the shadows somewhere, that it’s a good idea to get some medical help. That’s because sudden hearing loss can often be a symptom of a larger issue. It could be a simple matter of an obstruction in your ear. Maybe some earwax.

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

Diabetes – What is it?

You’d be forgiven for not quickly seeing the links between hearing loss and diabetes. 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 produce enough insulin or can’t process the insulin it is producing, this is the result. 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 complicated condition which can often be degenerative. With the help of your doctor, it has to be handled cautiously. So how is that associated with your ears?

Believe it or not, a fairly common indicator 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. These exact changes have a powerful impact on the little hairs in your ears responsible for your hearing (called stereocilia). So even before other more widely recognized diabetes symptoms manifest (like numb toes), you may go through sudden hearing loss.

What Should I do?

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

As is the case with most forms of hearing loss, the sooner you find treatment, the more options you’ll have. But you need to keep an eye out for more than just diabetes. Here are a few other possible causes of sudden hearing loss:

  • Autoimmune conditions.
  • Growth of tissue in the ear.
  • Blood pressure issues.
  • Some types of infections.
  • Earwax buildup or other obstructions.
  • Problems with blood circulation (often the result of other issues such as diabetes).

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

Sudden Hearing Loss Treatment Solutions

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. Once the obstruction is removed or, with diabetes, once blood circulation problems have been managed, your hearing will most likely get back to normal if you addressed it quickly.

But quick and efficient treatment is the key here. If they are not treated in time, some conditions, including diabetes, will result in permanent damage to your hearing. So it’s essential that you get medical treatment as quickly as possible, and if you’re experiencing hearing loss get that treated.

Keep an Eye on Your Ears

If you get regular hearing screenings, sudden hearing loss could be easier to identify and you may stop it from sneaking up on you by catching it sooner. These screenings can typically detect specific hearing problems before they become noticeable to you.

Diabetes and hearing loss have one other thing in common: it’s best to get them treated as soon as possible. Untreated hearing loss can lead to other health concerns such as loss of cognitive function. Schedule an appointment with us for a hearing assessment 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.