The Link Between Diabetes And Hearing Loss

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

It’s true, hearing loss can catch you by surprise. But in some cases, hearing issues bypass the sneaking altogether, in favor of a sudden (and often startling), cat-like pounce. It could happen like this: you wake up, pull yourself out of bed, and maybe you don’t notice 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 continues, and there’s no improvement, you start to get a little concerned.

At times like this, when you have a sudden drastic change to your hearing, you should seek medical attention. The reason why you should get help is that sudden hearing loss is often a symptom of an underlying medical issue. It might be a simple matter of a blockage 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 instantly seeing the links between hearing loss and diabetes. Your ears and your pancreas seem very far apart, distance-wise.

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 making enough insulin or it’s not responding to the insulin that you do make. 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, often degenerative (and complicated), condition. With the assistance of your doctor, it needs to be managed cautiously. But what does that have to do with your ears?

Well, it turns out that sudden hearing loss can frequently be a sign that you’re experiencing type 2 diabetes. Collateral damage to other parts of the body is common with diabetes which commonly has an affect on blood vessels and nerves. These precise changes have a strong affect on the little hairs in your ears responsible for your hearing (called stereocilia). So even before other more common diabetes symptoms show up (such as numb toes), you could experience sudden hearing loss.

What Should I do?

You’ii want to get medical help if your hearing has suddenly started acting up. Diabetes, for example, will frequently be totally symptomless at first, so you may not even recognize you have it until you begin to see some of these warning signs.

As is the situation with most types of hearing loss, the sooner you get treatment, the more possibilities you’ll have. But you need to keep an eye out for more than just diabetes. Sudden hearing loss can also be caused by:

  • Issues with blood circulation (often caused by other problems such as diabetes).
  • Autoimmune disorders.
  • A blockage in the ear (like an build-up of earwax).
  • Growth of tissue in the ear.
  • Some kinds of infections.
  • Issues with your blood pressure.

Without an appropriate medical diagnosis, it can be challenging to figure out the cause of your sudden hearing loss and how to manage the root symptoms.

Treatment Solutions For Sudden Hearing Loss

Here’s the good news, whether your sudden hearing loss is related to diabetes or infection (or any of these other problems), successful treatment of the underlying cause will often return your hearing back to normal levels if you catch it early. Once the obstruction is removed or, with diabetes, once blood circulation issues have been addressed, your hearing will most likely get back to normal if you addressed it quickly.

But quick and effective management is the key here. There are some conditions that can result in irreversible harm if they go neglected (diabetes is, again, one of those conditions). So if you’re coping with any type or degree of hearing loss, get it treated now.

Keep an Eye on Your Ears

Sudden hearing loss can sneak up on you, but it might be easier to detect, and you might catch it sooner if you undergo regular hearing screenings. These screenings can normally uncover 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 produce other health concerns like loss of cognitive function. Make 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.