Can pain in my ear be worsened with my diabetes?

Lawanna asked...

I have Type 2 Diabetes, and I have pain in my ear. I am wondering if having diabetes can make this pain be more harmful to me than if not?

Expert Answer

Karen Earle, M.D. is medical director of Diabetes Services at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco.

Of course, ear pain should be evaluated by a doctor, whether or not you have diabetes.  There are many possible causes of ear pain such as an ear infection, trauma to the ear, a foreign body in the ear, or a condition known as swimmer's ear, an infection of the outer ear and ear canal, characterized by pain, itchiness, and a feeling of stuffiness in the ear. Diabetes won't make ear pain more harmful, but not getting your ear evaluated in a timely manner could be harmful.

Diabetes is a disease that can affect many different parts of the body, including the ear.  Patients with diabetes are particularly prone to infections, including infections of the ear.  Pain and swelling in the ear could indicate such an infection, which can be treated with ear drops and/or antibiotics.

In addition, people with diabetes may have problems with hearing loss.  If you are also experiencing hearing loss, you should have your hearing tested when you visit your doctor. Read this blog post to learn more about diabetes and hearing loss.