Hearing Loss And Diabetes, What’s The Link?

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

Hearing loss can sneak up on you, it’s true. But in some cases, hearing issues bypass the sneaking entirely, in favor of a sudden (and often startling), cat-like pounce. Here’s a hypothetical: You wake 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 suspect that you got some water in your ears, but as the day progresses, and there’s no improvement, you start to get a bit concerned.

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 get some medical assistance. The reason why you should get help is that sudden hearing loss is often a symptom of an underlying medical issue. Sometimes, that larger problem can be an obstruction in your ear. Maybe some earwax.

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

What is Diabetes?

You’d be forgiven for not quickly seeing the links between hearing loss and diabetes. Your pancreas seems a long way from your ears.

Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which your body has difficulty processing sugars into energy. This occurs because your body either isn’t generating enough insulin or it’s not reacting to the insulin that you do produce. This is why insulin injections are the most prevalent type of diabetes treatments.

What is The Connection Between Diabetes And Hearing?

Diabetes is a common complex affliction which can often be degenerative. With the help of your physician, it has to be handled cautiously. But what does that have to do with your hearing?

Believe it or not, a fairly common sign of type 2 diabetes is sudden hearing loss. Collateral damage to other areas of the body is common with diabetes which frequently has an impact on blood vessels and nerves. These exact changes have a strong affect on the little hairs in your ears responsible for your hearing (called stereocilia). So you may suffer sudden hearing loss even before other, more traditional symptoms of diabetes appear (numb toes, for example).

What Should I do?

You’ii want to get medical attention if your hearing has suddenly started acting up. You might not even be aware that you have diabetes in the beginning, but these warning signs will start to clue you in.

As is the case with most forms of hearing loss, the sooner you seek out treatment, the more options you’ll have. But you need to watch out for more than just diabetes. Sudden hearing loss could be caused by:

  • Blood circulation issues (these are often a result of other issues, such as diabetes).
  • Some kinds of infections.
  • Autoimmune conditions.
  • A blockage in the ear (like an build-up of earwax).
  • Issues with your blood pressure.
  • Growth of tissue in the ear.

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

Sudden Hearing Loss Treatment Options

The good news here is, whether your sudden hearing loss is related to diabetes or infection (or any of these other issues), successful management of the underlying cause will usually bring your hearing back to healthy levels if you catch it early. Once the obstruction is removed or, in the case of diabetes, once blood circulation issues have been managed, your hearing will very likely get back to normal if you dealt with it promptly.

But that really does rely on prompt 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 essential that you find medical treatment as quickly as possible, and if you’re experiencing hearing loss get that treated.

Pay Attention to Your Hearing

Sudden hearing loss can sneak up on you, but it may be easier to detect, and you might catch it sooner if you undergo regular hearing screenings. These screenings can usually uncover 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. Other problems, including degeneration of cognitive function, can result from neglected hearing loss. 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. Schedule an appointment to see if hearing aids could benefit you.