Hearing Loss and Hypertension

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

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

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 detect your progressing hearing loss even though it’s an irreversible condition. Typically, it’s the outcome of many years of noise-related damage. So how does hypertension lead to hearing loss? The blood vessels inside of your ears and your blood vessels in general can be damaged by high blood pressure.

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. Damage to your blood vessels can occur over time as a result. These blood vessels that have been damaged lose their flexibility and often become blocked. Cardiovascular problems, like a stroke, can be the result of these blockages. That’s one of the reasons why healthcare professionals often 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

When your blood pressure goes as high as 180/120, it’s considered a hypertensive emergency. This type of event should be dealt with immediately.

How can hypertension cause hearing loss?

Hypertension can cause extensive damage to your blood vessels, including the blood vessels in your ear. Usually, the nerves in your ear will also be compromised along with these blood vessels. 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.

This means that damage to the ears, no matter the cause, can cause permanent hearing loss. According to some research, the percentage of individuals 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 extreme hearing loss. The impacts of hearing loss, in other words, can be decreased by keeping blood pressure under control.

What does high blood pressure feel like in your ears?

Normally, the symptoms of high blood pressure are barely detectable. 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. Usually, it’s a sign of changes in blood flow relating to emotions, hormones, and other non-blood pressure-associated problems.

In some cases, high blood pressure can worsen tinnitus symptoms. But how do you know if tinnitus is a result of high blood pressure? The only way to know for sure is to speak with your doctor. In general, however, tinnitus isn’t a sign of high blood pressure. High blood pressure is sometimes called “the silent killer” for a good reason.

The majority of people 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?

High blood pressure is typically due to a confluence of numerous different factors. Consequently, you may have to take numerous different steps 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. That management might look like the following:

  • Take medication as prescribed: Sometimes, no amount of diet and exercise can prevent or effectively manage high blood pressure. In those instances, (and even in situations where lifestyle changes have helped), medication may be required to help you manage your hypertension.
  • Get more exercise: Getting regular exercise (or simply moving around on a regular basis) can help lower your overall blood pressure.
  • Avoid sodium: Keep the salt intake to a minimum. Find lower salt alternatives when possible (or avoid processed foods when you can).
  • Diet changes: Eating a Mediterranean diet can help you lower blood pressure. Eat more fruits and veggies and abstain from things like red meat.

You and your doctor will formulate a treatment plan to deal with your blood pressure. Can you reverse any hearing loss brought on by high blood pressure? In some cases the answer is yes and in others not so much. There is some evidence to suggest that decreasing your blood pressure can help restore your hearing, at least in part. But at least some of the damage will most likely be irreversible.

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

Protecting your hearing

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

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

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 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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