Hearing Loss and Hypertension

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

Are 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 starting to fail. You most likely won’t even notice your developing hearing loss even though it’s an irreversible condition. Years of noise damage is usually the cause. So how does hypertension cause hearing loss? 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 significant

The blood that flows through your circulatory system can move at different speeds. When the blood flows quicker than normal it means you have high blood pressure. Damage to your blood vessels can happen over time as a result. These damaged vessels become less elastic and more prone to blockages. Cardiovascular problems, like a stroke, can be the consequence of these blockages. Healthcare professionals tend to pay very close attention to a patient’s blood pressure as a result.

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

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

How is hearing loss caused by hypertension?

Hypertension can cause widespread 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. Additionally, high blood pressure can negatively impact the stereocilia in your ear (the little hairs responsible for picking up vibrations). When these stereocilia become damaged, they don’t regenerate, so any damage is effectively irreversible.

This means that damage to the ears, regardless of the cause, can cause irreversible hearing loss. According to some studies, the percentage of people who have hearing loss is higher when they have high blood pressure readings. Individuals who have hearing loss are more likely to have higher blood pressure. The impacts 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?

In the vast majority of 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 get red. Normally, it’s an indication of changes in blood flow related to emotions, hormones, and other non-blood pressure-associated problems.

High blood pressure can sometimes worsen tinnitus symptoms. But how can you tell if tinnitus is a result of high blood pressure? It’s impossible to tell for sure without speaking to a doctor or hearing specialist. Tinnitus generally isn’t a symptom of high blood pressure. High blood pressure is sometimes referred to as “the silent killer” for a good reason.

Most people notice high blood pressure when they go in for a yearly exam and get their vitals taken. This is one good reason to make sure you go to your yearly appointments.

How can you lower your blood pressure?

High blood pressure is normally caused by a confluence of many different factors. As a result, you might have to take numerous different measures and use a variety of methods to successfully lower your blood pressure. In general, you should talk with your primary care doctor to lower your blood pressure. That management may look like the following:

  • Get more exercise: Getting regular exercise (or simply moving around on a regular basis) can help decrease your overall blood pressure.
  • Take medication as prescribed: In some instances, high blood pressure can’t be managed with diet and exercise alone. In those cases, (and even in cases where lifestyle changes have helped), medication may be needed to help you manage your hypertension.
  • Diet changes: Eating a Mediterranean diet can help you lower blood pressure. Eat more fruits and vegetables and avoid things like red meat.
  • Avoid sodium: Keep your eye on the amount of salt in your food, especially processed foods. Avoid processed food when possible and find lower salt alternatives if you can.

A treatment plan to address your blood pressure can be developed by your primary care physician. Can hearing loss as a result of high blood pressure be reversed? In some cases the answer is yes and in others not so much. There is some evidence to indicate that lowering your blood pressure can help restore your hearing, at least partially. But it’s also likely that at least some of the damage incurred will be irreversible.

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

Safeguarding your hearing

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

  • Talk to us: Any existing hearing loss can be protected and early detection will be possible by getting regular hearing screenings.
  • Wear hearing protection: You can safeguard your hearing by using earplugs, earmuffs, or noise canceling headphones.
  • Avoiding loud venues and events: Loud noises should be avoided because they can cause damage. If you really need to be in an environment with overly loud noise, at least minimize your exposure time.

We can help you protect your hearing into the future, so make an appointment right away.

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.