Hypertension and Hearing Loss

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

Did you know that high blood pressure can also increase your chance of developing age-related hearing loss?

Age-related hearing loss normally begins to manifest in your 40s, 50s, or 60s. Your symptoms may advance slowly and be mostly invisible, but this kind of hearing loss is permanent. Years of noise damage is typically the cause. So how does hypertension lead to hearing loss? The answer is that high blood pressure can cause extensive damage to your blood vessels, including those in your ears.

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

Blood pressure is a measure of how quickly blood runs through your circulatory system. High blood pressure means that this blood moves more rapidly than normal. Over time, this can cause damage to your blood vessels. These blood vessels that have been harmed lose their elasticity and frequently become blocked. Cardiovascular problems, including a stroke, can be the consequence of these blockages. Healthcare professionals usually 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

When your blood pressure goes as high as 180/120, it’s considered a hypertensive crisis. Immediate treatment is needed when this occurs.

How can hypertension cause hearing loss?

The blood vessels in your ear and your entire body can be damaged by hypertension. Normally, the nerves in your ear will also be damaged along with these blood vessels. The little hairs in your ears responsible for sensing vibrations, known as stereocilia, can also be negatively impacted by high blood pressure. These stereocilia aren’t capable of self-regeneration, so any damage they sustain is 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. Individuals 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 impacts of hearing loss.

What does high blood pressure feel like in your ears?

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 in which your ears feel warm and grow red. Hot ears are usually caused by changes in blood flow due to hormonal, emotional, and other issues not associated with blood pressure.

In some instances, high blood pressure can exacerbate tinnitus symptoms. But how can you tell if tinnitus is from high blood pressure? The only way to tell for sure is to speak with your doctor. Tinnitus is generally not a symptom of high blood pressure. There’s a reason that high blood pressure is often called “the silent killer”.

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

How can you lower your blood pressure?

Usually, there are many factors that contribute to high blood pressure. As a result, you might have to take several different measures and use a variety of methods to successfully lower your blood pressure. In general, you should talk with your primary care provider to lower your blood pressure. That management may look like the following:

  • Take medication as prescribed: In some cases, high blood pressure can’t be managed with diet and exercise alone. Although diet and exercise can be helpful, there are some situations where it will be necessary to use blood pressure medication as prescribed to control hypertension.
  • Avoid sodium: Pay attention to the amount of sodium in your food, particularly processed foods. Find lower sodium alternatives when you can (or stay away from processed foods when possible).
  • Get more exercise: Your blood pressure can be kept under control by getting regular exercise.
  • Diet changes: Eating a Mediterranean diet can help you lower blood pressure. Essentially, stay away from foods like red meats and eat more fruits and vegetables.

A treatment plan to address your blood pressure can be formulated by your primary care physician. Can you reverse any hearing loss caused by high blood pressure? In some circumstances 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 at least some of the damage will most likely be irreversible.

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

How to protect your hearing

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

  • Talk to us: Getting your hearing screened regularly can help you maintain your hearing and detect any hearing loss early.
  • Wear hearing protection: You can protect your hearing by using earplugs, earmuffs, or noise canceling headphones.
  • Avoiding loud venues and events: Try to steer clear of overly loud noises when you can, as these noises can lead to damage to your ears. If these places aren’t entirely avoidable, minimize your time in noisy environments.

We can help you protect your hearing into the future, so make an appointment as soon as possible.

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.

Questions? Talk To Us.