Hearing Associates of Libertyville, IL

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

Were you aware that your chance of developing age-related hearing loss can be increased if you have high blood pressure?

Age-related hearing loss typically begins to manifest in your 40s, 50s, or 60s. Your symptoms could progress slowly and be largely invisible, but this type of hearing loss is irreversible. Years of noise damage is usually the cause. So how is hearing loss a result of hypertension? The blood vessels in your ears and your blood vessels in general can be damaged by high blood pressure.

Blood pressure and why it’s so important

Blood pressure is a measure of how rapidly blood moves through your circulatory system. High blood pressure means that this blood flows more rapidly than normal. Over time, this can lead to damage to your blood vessels. These damaged vessels grow less flexible and more prone to blockages. A blockage can lead to a stroke or other cardiovascular issues. Healthcare professionals usually pay very close attention to a patient’s blood pressure because of this.

What constitutes 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 considered a hypertensive crisis. Immediate management is needed when this happens.

How can hypertension cause hearing loss?

Hypertension can cause extensive 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 endure lasting damage. The tiny hairs in your ears responsible for sensing vibrations, called stereocilia, can also be adversely impacted by high blood pressure. These stereocilia are not capable of self-regeneration, so any damage they sustain is permanent.

This means that damage to the ears, no matter the cause, can result in permanent hearing loss. According to some studies, the percentage of individuals 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 study make clear that keeping your blood pressure under control can help you prevent the impacts of hearing loss.

What does high blood pressure make your ears feel like?

In most cases, high blood pressure is a symptomless condition. High blood pressure isn’t the cause of “hot ears”. “Hot ears” is a condition where your ears feel hot and get red. Hot ears are usually caused by changes in blood flow due to hormonal, emotional, and other issues not associated with blood pressure.

High blood pressure can sometimes worsen symptoms of tinnitus. But if your tinnitus was being caused by high blood pressure, how would you know? It’s impossible to tell for sure without speaking to a doctor or hearing specialist. Tinnitus is generally not a symptom of high blood pressure. High blood pressure is sometimes referred to as “the silent killer” for a good reason.

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

How is high blood pressure managed?

Normally, there are various factors that contribute to high blood pressure. Consequently, you might have to take several different measures and use a variety of methods to effectively lower your blood pressure. In general, you should work with your primary care provider to lower your blood pressure. That management may look like the following:

  • Take medication as prescribed: In some cases, no amount of diet and exercise can counter or effectively treat high blood pressure. In those cases, (and even in cases where lifestyle changes have worked), medication could be needed to help you control your hypertension.
  • Get more exercise: Getting regular exercise (or simply moving around on a regular basis) can help decrease your overall blood pressure.
  • Avoid sodium: Take note of the amount of sodium in your food, especially processed foods. Find lower sodium alternatives when possible (or avoid processed foods when you can).
  • Diet changes: Eating a Mediterranean diet can help you reduce blood pressure. Essentially, avoid foods like red meats and eat more vegetables and fruits.

A treatment plan to address your blood pressure can be formulated by your primary care doctor. Can hearing loss from high blood pressure be reversed? In some cases the answer is yes and in others not so much. You may be able to restore your hearing to some extent by reducing your blood pressure, according to some evidence. But it’s also likely that at least some of the damage incurred will be irreversible.

Your hearing will have a better possibility of recuperating if you treat your blood pressure promptly.

Protecting your hearing

While lowering your blood pressure can definitely be good for your health (and your hearing), there are other ways you can safeguard your hearing. This could include:

  • Wear hearing protection: You can protect your hearing by using earplugs, earmuffs, or noise canceling headphones.
  • Talk to us: Any existing hearing loss can be protected and early detection will be possible by getting regular hearing screenings.
  • 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 settings aren’t entirely avoidable, minimize your time in loud environments.

We can help you maintain your hearing into the future, so book an appointment right away.

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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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