Plainsboro and Monroe, NJ

Plainsboro and Monroe, NJ

Hypertension and Hearing Loss

Princeton Otolaryngology Associates: Dr. Scott L. Kay | Hearing Loss Articles

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

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

From around 40 years old and up, you may start to notice that your hearing is starting to go. You most likely won’t even detect your developing hearing loss even though it’s an irreversible condition. Typically, it’s the consequence of many years of noise-related damage. So how does hypertension lead to hearing loss? 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 significant

The blood that runs through your circulatory system can move at different speeds. High blood pressure means that this blood flows more quickly than normal. Damage to your blood vessels can happen over time because of this. These blood vessels that have been harmed lose their elasticity and frequently become blocked. A blockage can contribute to a stroke or other cardiovascular problems. That’s one of the reasons why healthcare professionals frequently pay close attention to your blood pressure.

What is considered 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 gets as high as 180/120, it’s regarded as a hypertensive emergency. This type of event should be treated immediately.

How does hypertension cause hearing loss?

Hypertension can cause extensive damage to your blood vessels, including the blood vessels in your ear. Usually, the nerves in your ear will also be compromised along with these blood vessels. 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 regenerate, so any damage is effectively irreversible.

This means that damage to the ears, no matter the cause, can cause permanent hearing loss. Research indicates that those who have normal blood pressure readings tend to have a much lower prevalence of hearing loss. Individuals who have hearing loss are more likely to have higher blood pressure. The impacts of hearing loss, in other words, can be reduced by keeping blood pressure under control.

What does high blood pressure feel like in your ears?

In the vast majority of 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. Normally, it’s a sign of changes in blood flow relating to emotions, hormones, and other non-blood pressure-related problems.

In some cases, high blood pressure can worsen tinnitus symptoms. But if your tinnitus was a result of high blood pressure, how would you know? The only way to know for certain is to talk to your doctor. In general, however, tinnitus is not a sign of high blood pressure. There’s a reason that high blood pressure is often referred to as “the silent killer”.

Most people notice high blood pressure when they go in for a yearly exam and get their vitals taken. It’s a good reason to be certain you don’t miss those regular 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 several different measures and use a variety of methods to effectively lower your blood pressure. In general, you should work 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 lower blood pressure. Basically, avoid foods like red meats and eat more fruits and vegetables.
  • Get more exercise: Getting regular exercise (or simply getting your body moving on a regular basis) can help lower your overall blood pressure.
  • Take medication as prescribed: Sometimes, no amount of diet and exercise can prevent or successfully 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.
  • Avoid sodium: Keep the sodium intake to a minimum. Steer clear of processed food when you can and find lower sodium alternatives if possible.

A treatment plan to address your blood pressure can be formulated by your primary care physician. Can hearing loss as a result of high blood pressure be reversed? The answer depends. You might be able to rejuvenate your hearing to some extent by lowering your blood pressure, according to some evidence. But at least some of the damage will probably be permanent.

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

Safeguarding your hearing

You can protect your hearing in other ways besides reducing your blood pressure. This could include:

  • Talk to us: Having your hearing screened regularly can help you preserve your hearing and identify any hearing loss early.
  • Avoiding loud venues and events: Loud noises should be avoided because they can cause damage. If these locations aren’t completely avoidable, limit your time in noisy environments.
  • Wear hearing protection: You can safeguard your hearing by utilizing earplugs, earmuffs, or noise canceling headphones.

We can help you protect your hearing into the future, so book 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.