Chronic ear infections

Does anyone know if chronic infections are a ‘side effect’ of having diabetes? I know that people with diabetes don’t heal as quickly after surgery, but I keep having chronic ear infection. My last A1C was 6.4%, I use the Omnipod and also a Dexcom 7+, and wear a pedometer daily. I’m at a loss as to how to improve my immunity.

I got my first ear infection when I was about 30, about 8 years ago, and was getting them constantly. I also got Bronchitis at least once a year. Once I got my sinuses under control, I haven’t had a sinus infection for about 4 or 5 years now. Severe sinus allergies run in my family, so I cannot really attribute them to diabetes. If you don’t have that junk in your sinuses, you probably won’t get the ear infection. If you have sinus trouble, you could try a netti pot to keep your sinuses clear. Sinuses can drain into your ears which can lead to ear infections, or they drain into your lungs and cause bronchitis.

Tanya, Thanks for the tip about the netti pot. I also have sleep apnea and sometimes, especially now in the Spring, my nose is so stuffy I can hardly breathe.

I don’t know if it’s a side effect of diabetes. But I think you might not be getting rid of the bacteria when you take your antibiotic. You may need it prescribed for a longer time or take a higher dose. I had a series of ear infections about fived years ago. My eardrum actually burst. But they eventually went away so I’m hopeful yours will do the same.

It is entirely possible. I will tell you that I sufferred from chronic ear infections in the years leading up to my diagnosis. I probably had elevated blood sugars the whole time. It was so bad that one time I burst my eardrum and another my ear froze, leaving me totally deaf in one ear for 3 months. I now have some marked hearing loss, especially when my wife is talking, but I try to make up for it by nodding my head and agreeing with everything.

I second Tanya’s recommendation for a neti pot.

I cant say for sure but I read how ear infections if not treated can lead to a more serious complication in diabetics called: malignant otitis externa. (scroll down the wiki page talks about this and diabetics)

I just was reading about this the other day because I thought my ear was infected and I was trying to decide if I had an outer ear infection or an middle ear infection. There is a difference. In my case, I have the outer one but mine wasn’t really a whole infection but I think I pushed my hearing aid in too far and the wrong way (I have the completely in the canal ones that go in the ear) and I think I scratched part of my outer ear. I had pain and swelling and was ready to go to the doctor but I have no insurance so I thought I would wait (because I know my ears since they are all messed up) so I waited a few days and didn’t wear my one aid and it healed on its own.

But after reading that wiki page I got a bit worried for the future. But if you have an infection esp if you pain in the ear that is not going away have it checked out. You can tell if you have an outer ear infection if you pull on your ear and you have pain or it feels sore or swollen when you pull. An outer ear infection is sometimes called Swimmers Ears because it can start from water in ears or bacteria or wax. A middle ear infection called otitis medis usually will show up after a cold or sickness because it is caused by a virus. If you have no pain when you pull on your ear, you might have a middle ear infection. The middle one will often require antibiotics. Either way go and get treatment - esp if your ear starting swelling up and you can’t hear.

I wish I had done that years ago. I lost some of my hearing due to too much wax and I let it go and my ear swelled up and got infected and had hearing loss after this happened a few times in each ear. So now I have hearing aids. - this was way before my diabetes like 6 years ago. But ear infections whether caused by diabetes or not - don’t mess with em if you want to keep your hearing. Take it from me.

I do remember reading that diabetes will have more infections and could be slower to heal. I am new but I look back now and I realize how much trouble I had with slight yeast infections and other girlie type infections in the past year or so. I never really had them before. They just kept returning (but I have cervical issues too).

I third it! Neti pot is so easy to use and really clears out your nose - it will also help your throat and ears too! They are all connected and clearing out all the “gunk” in there will help you breathe better.

Great info! Thanks, Kimberly.

I tried ear candles for an ear ache. Not convinced they really do anything & NOT a replacement for medical treatment, but the heat was soothing & relaxing.

Kimberly ~

Thank You for the information links you posted. I clicked on both of them and printed them out for reading. My ear infections are called chronic mastoiditis (medical term I guess). The ear that keeps getting infected is the same ear I had mastoid surgery on many years ago when I was a teenager. Unfortunately the mastoid surgery left that ear completely deaf. Somehow it doesn’t seem quite fair that a deaf ear should be giving me this much trouble. But life goes on and I have to keep trying to get rid of the infection.

I’m sorry that you’ve experienced infection in your ear as I know first hand how painful it can be. Continue to take good care of your ears as you are doing now. Since you have no insurance, are there any low income medical clinics where you live so that you might be able to see a doctor if you need to …in the future?

bsc - I think they call what you do by nodding your head and agreeing with everything your wife says “selective hearing loss”. :slight_smile: :slight_smile: My husband does this too and as far as I know he has never had an ear infection.

Thanks! Well, I just found about those clinics at CVS and Walgreens - not super cheap but at least they are walkin. I do have a low cost clinic near me but you need an appointment and often you can’t get it for a week and infections should not wait of course - at least some of them.

I havent heard of what you have but whether or not you can hear in the ear doesn’t prevent you from getting infections unfortunately. Hopefully your treatement works -some peoples infections are hard to clear up. It sucks not being able to hear.

I was going to try those but after I lost some of hearing I was wary about the wax dripping in my ear.Some people say it works but honestly I cant see how unless the heat just melts some of the wax. The process by which is is supposed to remove wax sounds very strange.

15 months ago, I had an ear infection following a really bad cold. I went to the doctor, and took antibiotics and ear drops for a few weeks. It cleared up the infection, but I still had the sensation of water in my ear, so I went to a ENT doc. I thought he was just going to stick something down there and “unclog” me, but he said there was nothing to see! He gave me a hearing test which showed a hearing loss. I said the clogging was driving me CRAZY! he said, that I had a 33%chance of having it go away in 3 months, a 33% chance it would go away in a year, and a 33% chance I’d have it the rest of my life. well, it’s way over a year now. he said I’d get used to it, but I really haven’t.

Have you considered getting a second opinion? Maybe another doctor would have an entirely different opinion. Sorry about your ear problem…it isn’t much fun is it? :frowning:

I already have. thanks for the support.

I don’t think they work either, but it does feel comforting to the ache.

Hi Marie,

This is a very similiar thing that happened to me. When you first lose some of your hearing, you feel like your ears are still “clogged” (actually they will always feel like this when you have hearing loss - I can just imagine how deaf people feel). I kept doing those ear wax removal because I thought there was still something in my ears! I developed tinnitus in my left ear and when to the ENT because I thought I had a virus or wax or water in my ear drum - well, there was nothing there. He said it was hearing loss. There was an audiologist in the the ENT office so I had my hearing checked and they said I needed hearing aids. I was devastated.

I know I have hearing loss (it is probably close to half in both ears) but I don’t totally buy that tinnitus is from hearing loss because if that was true than why don’t I have it in both ears? I only have it in my left ear. Now, THAT Is something that is really hard to get used too. I am thankful that mine is not really bad - I mostly notice it at night when I have my aids out and it seems to be louder in the morning. Some people have it so bad that they can’t even sleep and aids don’t mask it. I have gotten used to mine but it tooka while. Sometimes I even lay and listen to it - sometimes it is so faint I can’t even hear it.

My hearing aids take away that “full” feeling - they also mask the tinnitus.

You DO get used it eventually. But it takes a while. For me, even though I hate having hearing loss - I think about all the annoying noises that I can’t hear that I don’t want it - like noisy trucks, loud car stereos, the frig going on and off at night. So it isn’t all bad but even with my hearing aids (which amplying everything - even stuff you don’t want to be louder) sometime it can be hard to understand people. I am hoping for a surgery that will fix it - like laser surgery for the eyes - I had that done on my eyes and I love it.

I know what it is like to lose your hearing so if you have any questions or wand advice whatever you can send me message. :slight_smile:

Many thanks to the entire community, I just found this forum while I was searching for the chronic ear pain, before putting question I got my answer. Thanks to Mayumi and Baby_tee.

Welcome to TuDiabetes, @David_Gamble! As you’ve found, there’s a wealth of information available in our archive, even though it’s ten years old. Many new user’s first instinct is to write up a post with their question without any prior search. We’re a small enough community to tolerate this but searching to see if anyone else has posed your question is effective.

I hope that you will stick around and participate in our more current discussions. That would provide a better chance for our members to directly respond to you.

1 Like