The Connection Between Hearing Loss and Diabetes

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

It’s true, hearing loss can catch you by surprise. But there are times when hearing problems suddenly pounce you like a cat instead of sneaking up on you. It could happen like this: you get up, drag 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 suspect that you got some water in your ears, but as the day progresses, and there’s no difference, you start to get a little concerned.

It’s times like this when hearing loss seems to attack suddenly, as if from the shadows somewhere, that it’s a good decision to seek out some medical help. The reason why you should get help is that sudden hearing loss is usually a symptom of an underlying medical issue. At times, 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 related to diabetes.

Diabetes – What is it?

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

With type 2 diabetes, sugars in your body aren’t properly broken down and turned into energy. This occurs because your body either isn’t producing enough insulin or it’s not responding to the insulin that you do produce. That’s why treatments for diabetes usually entail injections or infusions of insulin.

What is The Connection Between Diabetes And Hearing?

Diabetes is a common, often degenerative (and complicated), affliction. With the assistance of your physician, it needs to be handled carefully. But what does that have to do with your hearing?

Believe it or not, a fairly common indicator of type 2 diabetes is sudden hearing loss. The link lies in the ability of diabetes to cause collateral damage, typically to nerves and blood vessels around the extremities. These exact changes have a strong impact on the little hairs in your ears responsible for your hearing (called stereocilia). So you may experience sudden hearing loss even before other, more traditional symptoms of diabetes kick in (numb toes, for example).

What Should I do?

You’ii want to get medical help if your hearing has suddenly started giving you trouble. You may not even be aware that you have diabetes at first, but these warning signs will start to clue you in.

Getting 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 can also be caused by:

  • Blood circulation problems (these are often caused by other issues, like diabetes).
  • Autoimmune diseases.
  • Earwax buildup or other obstructions.
  • Infections of various types.
  • Tissue growth in the ear.
  • Blood pressure problems.

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

Treatment Solutions 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 issues), successful management of the underlying cause will often bring your hearing back to healthy levels if you catch it early. 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 that really does rely on quick and effective treatment. If they are not treated in time, some conditions, like diabetes, will bring about irreversible 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.

Keep an Eye on Your Ears

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

There’s one more thing that diabetes and hearing loss have in common, treating them sooner will bring better outcomes. Other problems, including deterioration of cognitive function, can result from untreated hearing loss. 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.