Many things, including loud noise exposure and physical damage to the ear, can cause hearing loss. One potential cause you may not hear about as frequently is high blood pressure, also called hypertension.
Let’s examine hypertension and the effect it may have on hearing.
What Is Hypertension?
Hypertension is a condition where the force of blood pushing against the artery walls is too high. Because the force is so high, the heart has to work harder to pump blood through the arteries. Symptoms are uncommon, but severe cases of hypertension may exhibit with:
- Shortness of breath
Because most cases of hypertension don’t exhibit symptoms, you should contact a doctor immediately if you start experiencing any of the symptoms.
When left untreated, hypertension can increase the risk of stroke, heart attack, hearing loss and more.
How Are Hypertension and Hearing Loss Connected?
One study on the relationship between hypertension and hearing loss found that hypertension could be responsible for increasing the hearing threshold and accelerating the degeneration of the hearing apparatus. An increased hearing threshold results in the listener having a more challenging time detecting and understanding sounds at specific pitches and decibels.
Another study tested 300 non-hypertensive patients with 300 hypertensive patients. Their results show that hypertension could be positively correlated to hearing loss. Due to the connection, the study recommends that hypertensive patients be regularly screened for hearing loss.
One explanation for hearing loss is that hypertension can damage the blood vessels in your ear. Over time, damage to inner-ear blood vessels can lead to temporary or permanent hearing loss. Because damage to the ear is often irreversible, preventing hypertension is essential.
The Mayo Clinic offers the following tips for reducing blood pressure:
- Eat healthy. A diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in processed foods will help keep your blood sugar low.
- Exercise regularly. Try adding a daily walk or run through Shoreline Park to your daily routine.
- Reduce stress. Try journaling before bed or taking a meditation class to lower your stress levels.
- Get a full night’s sleep. Do your best to get your recommended seven to eight hours of rest a night.
- Quit smoking. Smoking raises your blood pressure and can lead to lung cancer, emphysema and more. Consider quitting smoking entirely, and don’t be afraid to lean on your friends and family for support.
- Reduce alcohol intake. Consuming alcohol in excess can raise your blood pressure. Talk to your provider about the recommended alcohol limit for you.
Contact Hearing Services of Santa Barbara today to speak to one of our trusted audiologists about hearing protection.