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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 might begin to notice that your hearing is beginning to fail. Your symptoms might progress gradually and be mostly invisible, but this kind of hearing loss is permanent. Usually, it’s the result of many years of noise-related damage. So how is hearing loss caused by hypertension? 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 important

The blood that runs through your circulatory system can move at various speeds. When the blood flows quicker than normal it means you have high blood pressure. Over time, this can lead to damage to your blood vessels. These damaged vessels become less elastic and more prone to blockages. Cardiovascular issues, such as a stroke, can be the result of these blockages. Healthcare professionals have a tendency 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

A hypertensive crisis occurs when your blood pressure goes over 180/120. This kind 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 affect the stereocilia in your ear (the little hairs responsible for picking up vibrations). These stereocilia are not capable of self-regeneration, so any damage they incur is irreversible.

So regardless of the specific cause, permanent hearing loss can be the consequence of any damage. Studies found that individuals who have normal blood pressure readings tend to have a far lower prevalence of hearing loss. Those 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 make your ears feel like?

In most cases, high blood pressure is a symptomless condition. High blood pressure doesn’t cause “hot ears”. What are hot ears? It’s a symptom where your ears feel warm and grow red. Usually, it’s an indication of changes in blood flow relating to emotions, hormones, and other non-blood pressure-related problems.

In some cases, high blood pressure can 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. In general, however, tinnitus isn’t a sign of high blood pressure. High blood pressure is sometimes referred to as “the silent killer” for a good reason.

Typically, it’s not until you have your vitals taken at your annual exam that high blood pressure is detected. This is one good reason to be certain that you go to your yearly appointments.

How is high blood pressure managed?

Typically, there are many factors that contribute to high blood pressure. That’s why lowering blood pressure might require a variety of approaches. In general, you should work with your primary care doctor to lower your blood pressure. Here’s what that management could entail:

  • Diet changes: Eating a Mediterranean diet can help you lower blood pressure. Basically, stay away from foods like red meats and eat more vegetables and fruits.
  • Take medication as prescribed: In some situations, high blood pressure can’t be managed with diet and exercise alone. In those instances, (and even in situations where lifestyle changes have worked), medication might be necessary to help you control your hypertension.
  • Get more exercise: Getting regular exercise (or simply getting your body moving on a regular basis) can help lower your overall blood pressure.
  • Avoid sodium: Pay attention to the amount of sodium in your food, particularly processed foods. Steer clear of processed food when you can and find lower sodium alternatives if possible.

You and your doctor will formulate a treatment plan to address your blood pressure. Can you reverse any hearing loss brought on by high blood pressure? The answer depends. There is some evidence to indicate that reducing 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 irreversible.

The faster your high blood pressure is reversed, the more likely it will be that your hearing will get better.

How to protect your hearing

You can protect your hearing in other ways besides lowering your blood pressure. Here are a number of ways:

  • Avoiding loud venues and events: Try to avoid overly loud noises when you can, as these noises can lead to damage to your ears. If these locations aren’t completely avoidable, minimize your time in loud environments.
  • Talk to us: Having your hearing tested 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 showing symptoms of hearing loss, be certain to book an appointment with us so we can help you manage 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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