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 chance of developing age-related hearing loss?

Age-related hearing loss typically starts to manifest in your 40s, 50s, or 60s. Your symptoms might advance gradually and be largely invisible, but this type of hearing loss is permanent. Usually, it’s the outcome 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.

What is blood pressure (and why does it matter?)

The blood that flows through your circulatory system can move at different speeds. When the blood moves faster than normal it means you have high blood pressure. Damage to your blood vessels can occur over time because of this. These blood vessels that have been harmed lose their elasticity and often become blocked. Cardiovascular issues, including a stroke, can be the result of these blockages. Healthcare professionals tend to pay very close attention to a patient’s blood pressure because of this.

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

A hypertensive crisis happens when your blood pressure goes over 180/120. This type of event should be dealt with immediately.

How can hypertension cause hearing loss?

The blood vessels inside of your ear and your whole body can be damaged by hypertension. As these blood vessels become damaged, it’s likely that the nerves in your ear also endure lasting damage. The little hairs in your ears responsible for picking up vibrations, called stereocilia, can also be negatively impacted by high blood pressure. When these stereocilia get damaged, they don’t heal, so any damage is effectively permanent.

This means that damage to the ears, no matter the cause, can cause permanent hearing loss. Studies found that those with normal blood pressure readings tend to have a much lower prevalence of hearing loss. People who have hearing loss are more likely to have higher blood pressure. 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?

Normally, the symptoms of high blood pressure are hardly noticeable. So-called “hot ears” are not an indication of high blood pressure. “Hot ears” is an affliction where your ears feel hot and become red. Usually, it’s an indication of changes in blood flow relating to emotions, hormones, and other non-blood pressure-associated problems.

In some instances, high blood pressure can worsen tinnitus symptoms. But how do you know if tinnitus is a result of high blood pressure? It’s impossible to definitively tell without speaking to a doctor or hearing specialist. In general, however, tinnitus isn’t a sign of high blood pressure. There’s a reason that high blood pressure is often called “the silent killer”.

Most individuals find out they have 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 can you lower your blood pressure?

High blood pressure is usually due to a confluence of many different factors. That’s why lowering blood pressure may call for a variety of strategies. Your primary care physician should be where you address your high blood pressure. Here’s what that management might entail:

  • Get more exercise: Getting regular exercise (or simply moving around on a regular basis) can help decrease your overall blood pressure.
  • 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.
  • Diet changes: Your blood pressure can be reduced by eating a Mediterranean diet. Eat more fruits and veggies and abstain from things like red meat.
  • Take medication as prescribed: Sometimes, no amount of diet and exercise can prevent or successfully manage high blood pressure. Although 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.

A treatment plan to manage your blood pressure can be developed by your primary care doctor. Can you reverse any hearing loss caused by high blood pressure? The answer depends. There is some evidence to suggest that reducing your blood pressure can help restore your hearing, at least in part. But at least some of the damage will most likely be irreversible.

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

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. Here are several ways:

  • Avoiding loud venues and events: Try to avoid overly loud noises when you can, as these noises can result in damage to your ears. If you really need to be in an environment with overly loud noise, at least limit your exposure time.
  • Talk to us: Any existing hearing loss can be preserved and early detection will be possible by getting regular hearing screenings.
  • Wear hearing protection: Earmuff, earplugs, and even noise canceling headphones can help you protect your hearing.

We can help you maintain 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.