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

Did you know that high blood pressure can also increase your risk of developing age-related hearing loss?

From around 40 years old and up, you may begin to notice that your hearing is starting to fail. Your symptoms may progress slowly and be mostly invisible, but this type of hearing loss is permanent. Years of noise damage is typically the cause. So how is hearing loss caused by hypertension? The blood vessels in your ears and your blood vessels in general can be damaged by high blood pressure.

Blood pressure and why it’s so important

The blood that flows through your circulatory system can move at different speeds. High blood pressure means that this blood moves more quickly than normal. Over time, this can create damage to your blood vessels. These damaged vessels grow less flexible and more prone to blockages. A blockage can contribute to a stroke or other cardiovascular issues. Healthcare professionals tend to pay very close attention to a patient’s blood pressure for this reason.

So, what is regarded as high blood pressure?

The general 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 crisis happens when your blood pressure is over 180/120. This kind of event should be addressed immediately.

How does hypertension cause hearing loss?

Hypertension can cause extensive damage to your blood vessels, including the blood vessels inside of your ear. Usually, the nerves in your ear will also be damaged along with these blood vessels. The tiny hairs in your ears responsible for picking up vibrations, called stereocilia, can also be adversely impacted by high blood pressure. When these stereocilia become damaged, they don’t regenerate, so any damage is effectively permanent.

So regardless of the particular cause, permanent hearing loss can be the consequence of any damage. Studies found that people with normal blood pressure readings tend to have a much lower prevalence of hearing loss. People who reported higher blood pressure were also more likely to have more severe hearing loss. The findings of the research make clear that keeping your blood pressure under control can help you avoid the effects of hearing loss.

What does high blood pressure feel like in your ears?

In most cases, high blood pressure is a symptomless condition. High blood pressure doesn’t cause “hot ears”. “Hot ears” is an affliction where your ears feel hot and become red. Hot ears are normally caused by changes in blood flow due to hormonal, emotional, and other problems not associated with blood pressure.

In some cases, high blood pressure can exacerbate tinnitus symptoms. But if your tinnitus was being caused by high blood pressure, how could you tell? The only way to tell for sure is to speak with your doctor. In general, however, tinnitus isn’t a sign of high blood pressure. There’s a reason that high blood pressure is often called “the silent killer”.

The majority of individuals notice high blood pressure when they go in for an annual exam and have their vitals taken. This is one good reason to make sure you go to your yearly appointments.

How is high blood pressure treated?

High blood pressure is usually due to a confluence of many different factors. That’s why lowering blood pressure may call for a variety of approaches. In general, you should talk with your primary care doctor to lower your blood pressure. Here’s what that management could entail:

  • Avoid sodium: Keep the salt intake to a minimum. Steer clear of processed food when you can and find lower salt alternatives if you can.
  • Diet changes: Eating a Mediterranean diet can help you lower blood pressure. Basically, avoid foods like red meats and eat more fruits and vegetables.
  • Take medication as prescribed: In some cases, no amount of diet and exercise can counter or successfully treat high blood pressure. In those cases, (and even in situations where lifestyle changes have worked), medication may be necessary to help you control your hypertension.
  • Get more exercise: Your blood pressure can be managed by getting regular exercise.

A treatment plan to manage your blood pressure can be developed by your primary care physician. Can you reverse any hearing loss brought on by high blood pressure? The answer depends. There is some evidence to indicate that decreasing your blood pressure can help revive your hearing, at least in part. But it’s also likely that at least some of the harm incurred will be permanent.

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

Protecting your hearing

While lowering your blood pressure can certainly be good for your health (and your hearing), there are other ways to safeguard your hearing. This could include:

  • Avoiding loud venues and events: Loud noises should be avoided because they can cause damage. If these places are not completely avoidable, limit your time in noisy environments.
  • Talk to us: Having your hearing screened regularly can help you maintain your hearing and detect any hearing loss early.
  • Wear hearing protection: Earmuff, earplugs, and even noise canceling headphones can help you protect your hearing.

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

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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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