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

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

From about 40 years old and up, you might begin to notice that your hearing is beginning to fail. You probably won’t even detect your progressing hearing loss even though it’s an irreversible condition. Usually, it’s the consequence of many years of noise-related damage. So how is hearing loss caused by hypertension? The answer is that high blood pressure can cause widespread damage to your blood vessels, including those in your ears.

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 flows more rapidly than normal. Damage to your blood vessels can occur over time as a result. These blood vessels that have been damaged lose their elasticity and often become blocked. Cardiovascular issues, including a stroke, can be the consequence of these blockages. Healthcare professionals usually pay very close attention to a patient’s blood pressure for this reason.

So, what is regarded as high blood pressure?

Here are the general ratings for high blood pressure:

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

When your blood pressure gets as high as 180/120, it’s considered a hypertensive emergency. Immediate management is needed when this happens.

How does hypertension cause hearing loss?

Hypertension can cause extensive damage to your blood vessels, including the blood vessels inside of your ear. As these blood vessels become damaged, it’s likely that the nerves in your ear also endure lasting damage. The tiny hairs in your ears responsible for picking up vibrations, known as stereocilia, can also be negatively impacted by high blood pressure. These stereocilia are not capable of self-regeneration, so any damage they sustain is permanent.

So regardless of the specific cause, irreversible hearing loss can be the consequence of any damage. Studies found that individuals who have healthy blood pressure readings tend to have a far lower prevalence of hearing loss. People who reported higher blood pressure were also more likely to have more extreme hearing loss. The effects of hearing loss, in other words, can be reduced by keeping blood pressure under control.

What does high blood pressure feel like in your ears?

Usually, the symptoms of high blood pressure are barely noticeable. So-called “hot ears” are not a sign of high blood pressure. What are hot ears? It’s a symptom in which your ears feel warm and get red. Hot ears are normally caused by changes in blood flow due to hormonal, emotional, and other issues not related to blood pressure.

High blood pressure can sometimes worsen symptoms of tinnitus. But how do you know if tinnitus is a result of high blood pressure? The only way to tell for sure is to speak with your doctor. In general, however, tinnitus is not a symptom of high blood pressure. There’s a reason that high blood pressure is often called “the silent killer”.

Most people notice high blood pressure when they go in for an annual exam and have their vitals taken. It’s a good reason to make sure you don’t miss those regular appointments.

How is high blood pressure managed?

Typically, there are many factors that contribute to high blood pressure. That’s why lowering blood pressure may require a variety of approaches. Your primary care physician should be where you address your high blood pressure. Here’s what that management might entail:

  • Get more exercise: Your blood pressure can be managed by exercising regularly.
  • Avoid sodium: Pay attention to the amount of sodium in your food, especially processed foods. Find lower sodium alternatives when possible (or avoid processed foods when possible).
  • Take medication as prescribed: In some cases, high blood pressure can’t be addressed with diet and exercise alone. In those instances, (and even in situations where lifestyle changes have helped), medication could be required to help you control your hypertension.
  • Diet changes: Eating a Mediterranean diet can help you lower blood pressure. Eat more fruits and veggies and abstain from things like red meat.

A treatment plan to manage your blood pressure can be formulated by your primary care doctor. Can you reverse any hearing loss brought on by high blood pressure? The answer depends. You might be able to rejuvenate your hearing to some extent by reducing your blood pressure, according to some evidence. But at least some of the damage will most likely be permanent.

Your hearing will have a better chance of recuperating if you address your blood pressure quickly.

How to safeguard your hearing

While lowering your blood pressure can certainly be good for your health (and your hearing), there are other ways to protect your hearing. Here are a few ways:

  • Talk to us: Having your hearing screened regularly can help you preserve your hearing and detect any hearing loss early.
  • Wear hearing protection: You can protect your hearing by utilizing earplugs, earmuffs, or noise canceling headphones.
  • Avoiding loud venues and events: Loud noises should be avoided because they can cause damage. If these places aren’t entirely avoidable, limit your time in loud environments.

If you have high blood pressure and are showing symptoms of hearing loss, be certain to make an appointment with us so we can help you treat your hearing loss and protect 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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