Hypertension and Hearing Loss

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

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

From about 40 years old and up, you may begin to notice that your hearing is starting to go. You most likely won’t even detect your progressing hearing loss even though it’s an irreversible condition. Typically, it’s the result of many years of noise-related damage. So how is hearing loss caused by hypertension? The answer is that high blood pressure can lead to extensive damage to your blood vessels, including those in your ears.

Blood pressure and why it’s so significant

The blood that flows through your circulatory system can move at various speeds. High blood pressure means that this blood moves more rapidly than normal. Over time, this can cause damage to your blood vessels. These damaged vessels grow less elastic and more prone to blockages. Cardiovascular problems, such as a stroke, can be the result of these blockages. Healthcare professionals usually pay very close attention to a patient’s blood pressure as a result.

What is considered high blood pressure?

Here are the basic ratings for high blood pressure:

  • 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. Immediate management is needed when this occurs.

How can 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 get damaged, it’s likely that the nerves in your ear also suffer lasting damage. Also, high blood pressure can negatively impact the stereocilia in your ear (the tiny hairs responsible for sensing vibrations). These stereocilia aren’t capable of self-regeneration, so any damage they incur is irreversible.

So regardless of the specific cause, irreversible hearing loss can be the result of any damage. According to some studies, the percentage of people who have hearing loss is higher when they have high blood pressure readings. Individuals 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 impacts of hearing loss.

What does high blood pressure feel like in your ears?

Usually, the symptoms of high blood pressure are barely noticeable. So-called “hot ears” aren’t an indication of high blood pressure. “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 issues not related to blood pressure.

High blood pressure can sometimes worsen symptoms of tinnitus. But if your tinnitus was a result of high blood pressure, how could you tell? The only way to tell for sure is to talk to your doctor. In general, however, tinnitus is not a sign of high blood pressure. High blood pressure is sometimes referred to as “the silent killer” for a good reason.

Usually, it isn’t until you get your vitals taken at your annual exam that high blood pressure is discovered. This is one good reason to be certain that you go to your yearly appointments.

How can you lower your blood pressure?

High blood pressure is usually caused by a confluence of numerous different factors. As a result, you might have to take several different measures and use a variety of methods to successfully lower your blood pressure. In general, you should work with your primary care provider to lower your blood pressure. Here’s what that management could entail:

  • 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: Eating a Mediterranean diet can help you lower blood pressure. Eat more fruits and veggies and abstain from things like red meat.
  • Take medication as prescribed: In some cases, no amount of diet and exercise can prevent or successfully treat high blood pressure. Even though 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.
  • Avoid sodium: Pay attention to the amount of sodium in your food, especially processed foods. Steer clear of processed food when you can and find lower sodium alternatives if you can.

You and your doctor will establish a treatment plan to deal with your blood pressure. Can you reverse any hearing loss brought on by high blood pressure? The answer depends. There is some evidence to suggest that reducing your blood pressure can help revive your hearing, at least partially. But at least some of the damage will most likely be irreversible.

Your hearing will have a better chance of recuperating if you treat your blood pressure promptly.

Safeguarding your hearing

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

  • Talk to us: Having your hearing screened regularly can help you protect your hearing and detect any hearing loss early.
  • Wear hearing protection: Earmuff, earplugs, and even noise canceling headphones can help you safeguard your hearing.
  • Avoiding loud venues and events: Loud sounds should be avoided because they can cause damage. If these locations aren’t completely avoidable, minimize your time in noisy environments.

If you have high blood pressure and are showing symptoms of hearing loss, be certain to book an appointment with us so we can help you address 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.