Hypertension and Hearing Loss

Doctor measures the pressure of the patient during a medical examination and consultation in the hospital

Are you aware that your chance of developing age-related hearing loss can be increased if you have high blood pressure?

From around 40 years old and up, you might begin to detect that your hearing is starting to go. You most likely won’t even notice your progressing hearing loss even though it’s an irreversible condition. Years of noise damage is usually the cause. So how is hearing loss a result of hypertension? The answer is that high blood pressure can cause extensive damage to your blood vessels, including those in your ears.

What is blood pressure (and why does it matter?)

Blood pressure is a measure of how quickly blood moves through your circulatory system. High blood pressure means that this blood moves more rapidly than normal. Damage to your blood vessels can happen over time as a result. These blood vessels that have been damaged lose their flexibility and frequently become blocked. Cardiovascular problems, such as a stroke, can be the consequence of these blockages. That’s one of the reasons why healthcare professionals frequently pay close attention to your blood pressure.

What constitutes high blood pressure?

The basic ratings for blood pressure include the following:

  • Normal: 120/8o
  • Stage 1 Hypertension: 130-139/80-89
  • Stage 2 Hypertension: 140 or Higher/90 or higher

A hypertensive emergency happens when your blood pressure goes over 180/120. Immediate treatment is needed when this occurs.

How is hearing loss caused by hypertension?

Hypertension can cause extensive damage to your blood vessels, including the blood vessels in your ear. Normally, the nerves in your ear will also be compromised along with these blood vessels. The tiny hairs in your ears responsible for sensing vibrations, called stereocilia, can also be adversely impacted by high blood pressure. These stereocilia aren’t capable of self-regeneration, so any damage they incur is permanent.

So regardless of the specific cause, permanent hearing loss can be the result of any damage. Research indicates that individuals who have healthy blood pressure readings tend to have a much lower prevalence of hearing loss. Individuals who have hearing loss are more likely to have higher blood pressure. The effects of hearing loss, in other words, can be reduced by keeping blood pressure under control.

What does high blood pressure make your ears feel like?

In most cases, high blood pressure is a symptomless condition. So-called “hot ears” aren’t an indication of high blood pressure. “Hot ears” is a condition where your ears feel hot and get red. Usually, it’s an indication of changes in blood flow related to emotions, hormones, and other non-blood pressure-related issues.

High blood pressure can sometimes worsen tinnitus symptoms. But if your tinnitus was a result of high blood pressure, how would you know? The only way to know for sure is to talk to your doctor. Tinnitus generally isn’t a symptom of high blood pressure. There’s a reason that high blood pressure is often referred to as “the silent killer”.

Most individuals find out they have high blood pressure when they go in for a yearly exam and have their vitals taken. It’s a good reason to be certain you don’t miss those regular appointments.

How can you lower your blood pressure?

Typically, there are various factors that contribute to high blood pressure. That’s why lowering blood pressure might require a variety of strategies. In general, you should talk with your primary care provider to lower your blood pressure. That management may look like the following:

  • Avoid sodium: Keep the salt intake to a minimum. Find lower salt alternatives when you can (or avoid processed foods when you can).
  • Get more exercise: Getting regular exercise (or simply getting your body moving on a regular basis) can help reduce your overall blood pressure.
  • Diet changes: Your blood pressure can be reduced by eating a Mediterranean diet. Eat more fruits and veggies and avoid things like red meat.
  • Take medication as prescribed: Sometimes, no amount of diet and exercise can counter or successfully treat high blood pressure. Although diet and exercise can be helpful, there are some cases where it will be necessary to use blood pressure medication as prescribed to control hypertension.

A treatment plan to address your blood pressure can be formulated by your primary care physician. Can you reverse any hearing loss brought on by high blood pressure? The answer depends. You may be able to restore your hearing to some degree by lowering your blood pressure, according to some evidence. But it’s also likely that at least some of the damage incurred will be irreversible.

The faster your high blood pressure is corrected, the more likely it will be that your hearing will return.

How to protect your hearing

You can protect your hearing in other ways besides reducing your blood pressure. Here are a few ways:

  • Wear hearing protection: You can safeguard your hearing by using earplugs, earmuffs, or noise canceling headphones.
  • Talk to us: Any existing hearing loss can be maintained and early detection will be possible by getting routine hearing screenings.
  • Avoiding loud venues and events: Try to steer clear of overly loud noises where you can, as these noises can cause damage to your ears. If you really need to be in a setting with overly loud noise, at least minimize your exposure time.

If you have high blood pressure and are noticing symptoms of hearing loss, make sure to make an appointment with us so we can help you manage your hearing loss and safeguard your hearing health.

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.

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