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?

Age-related hearing loss normally starts to manifest in your 40s, 50s, or 60s. Your symptoms may advance slowly and be largely invisible, but this type of hearing loss is irreversible. Years of noise damage is typically the cause. So how is hearing loss caused by hypertension? The answer is that high blood pressure can lead to 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 various speeds. High blood pressure means that this blood flows more rapidly than normal. Over time, this can lead to damage to your blood vessels. These blood vessels that have been harmed lose their elasticity and frequently become blocked. 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 for this reason.

So, what is considered to be 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 regarded as a hypertensive emergency. This type of event should be treated immediately.

How can hypertension cause hearing loss?

The blood vessels in your ear and your whole body can be damaged by hypertension. Typically, the nerves in your ear will also be damaged along with these blood vessels. Additionally, high blood pressure can negatively impact the stereocilia in your ear (the little hairs responsible for sensing vibrations). When these stereocilia become damaged, they don’t heal, so any damage is effectively permanent.

So regardless of the particular cause, permanent hearing loss can be the consequence of any damage. Studies found that those who have normal blood pressure readings tend to have a far lower prevalence of hearing loss. Individuals who have hearing loss are more likely to have higher blood pressure. The findings of the study make clear that keeping your blood pressure under control can help you avoid the impacts of hearing loss.

What does high blood pressure make your ears feel like?

Normally, the symptoms of high blood pressure are hardly noticeable. So-called “hot ears” aren’t a sign of high blood pressure. What are hot ears? It’s a symptom where your ears feel warm and get red. Hot ears are normally caused by changes in blood flow due to hormonal, emotional, and other problems not related to blood pressure.

In some cases, high blood pressure can worsen tinnitus symptoms. But if your tinnitus was a result of high blood pressure, how could you tell? The only way to know for certain 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.

Usually, it’s not until you get your vitals taken at your annual exam that high blood pressure is discovered. It’s a good reason to be certain you don’t miss those regular appointments.

How is high blood pressure treated?

High blood pressure is typically due to a confluence of many different factors. As a result, you might have to take numerous different steps 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:

  • Diet changes: Eating a Mediterranean diet can help you reduce blood pressure. Eat more fruits and vegetables and abstain from things like red meat.
  • Take medication as prescribed: Sometimes, no amount of diet and exercise can counter or successfully manage high blood pressure. Although diet and exercise can be helpful, there are some cases where it will be necessary to take blood pressure medication as prescribed to control hypertension.
  • Get more exercise: Your blood pressure can be kept under control by getting regular exercise.
  • Avoid sodium: Keep the sodium intake to a minimum. Avoid processed food when possible and find lower sodium alternatives if you can.

You and your doctor will establish a treatment plan to address your blood pressure. Can hearing loss as a result of high blood pressure be reversed? The answer depends. You might be able to restore your hearing to some degree by reducing your blood pressure, according to some evidence. But at least some of the damage will most likely be irreversible.

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

How to safeguard your hearing

You can safeguard your hearing in other ways besides lowering your blood pressure. Here are several ways:

  • Avoiding loud venues and events: Loud noises should be avoided because they can cause damage. If you really need to be in a setting with overly loud noise, at least limit your exposure time.
  • Talk to us: Getting your hearing screened regularly can help you protect your hearing and identify any hearing loss early.
  • Wear hearing protection: Earmuff, earplugs, and even noise canceling headphones can help you safeguard your hearing.

We can help you preserve 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.