Hearcare  INC., & Associates - Sherman & Gainesville, TX

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 usually begins to manifest in your 40s, 50s, or 60s. Your symptoms might develop gradually and be mostly invisible, but this type of hearing loss is irreversible. Typically, it’s the result of many years of noise-related damage. So how does hypertension cause hearing loss? 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?)

Blood pressure is a measure of how quickly blood moves through your circulatory system. When the blood moves 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 flexible and more prone to blockages. Cardiovascular issues, such as a stroke, can be the result of these blockages. Healthcare professionals tend to pay very close attention to a patient’s blood pressure for this reason.

So, what is considered to be 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 regarded as a hypertensive crisis. 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 suffer lasting damage. Likewise, high blood pressure can negatively impact the stereocilia in your ear (the little hairs responsible for picking up vibrations). When these stereocilia get damaged, they don’t heal, so any damage is effectively irreversible.

This means that damage to the ears, no matter the cause, can result in irreversible hearing loss. According to some studies, the percentage of people who have hearing loss is higher when they have high blood pressure readings. 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 prevent the effects of hearing loss.

What does high blood pressure feel like in your ears?

Normally, the symptoms of high blood pressure are hardly noticeable. High blood pressure doesn’t cause “hot ears”. What are hot ears? It’s a symptom where your ears feel warm and get red. Normally, it’s an indication of changes in blood flow relating to emotions, hormones, and other non-blood pressure-related issues.

In some instances, high blood pressure can worsen tinnitus symptoms. But if your tinnitus was being caused by high blood pressure, how could you tell? The only way to know for certain is to talk to your doctor. 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 isn’t until you get 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 can you lower your blood pressure?

Usually, there are various factors that contribute to high blood pressure. Consequently, you may have to take numerous different measures and use a variety of methods to effectively 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 reduce your overall blood pressure.
  • Diet changes: Your blood pressure can be reduced by eating a Mediterranean diet. Essentially, stay away from foods like red meats and eat more fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid sodium: Keep the sodium intake to a minimum. Steer clear of processed food when you can and find lower salt alternatives if you can.
  • Take medication as prescribed: Sometimes, no amount of diet and exercise can counter or effectively manage high blood pressure. In those cases, (and even in cases where lifestyle changes have worked), medication could be required to help you manage your hypertension.

A treatment plan to address your blood pressure can be developed by your primary care doctor. 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 revive your hearing, at least in part. But at least some of the damage will likely be permanent.

The sooner your high blood pressure is reversed, the more likely it will be that your hearing will return.

How to protect your hearing

You can safeguard your hearing in other ways besides lowering your blood pressure. This could include:

  • Avoiding loud venues and events: Try to avoid overly loud noises where you can, as these noises can result in damage to your ears. If these places are not completely avoidable, limit your time in noisy environments.
  • Talk to us: Having your hearing tested regularly can help you protect your hearing and identify any hearing loss early.
  • Wear hearing protection: You can safeguard your hearing by using earplugs, earmuffs, or noise canceling headphones.

If you have high blood pressure and are showing symptoms of hearing loss, make sure to book an appointment with us so we can help you treat your hearing loss and safeguard 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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