Hypertension and Hearing Loss

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 risk of developing age-related hearing loss?

Age-related hearing loss typically starts to manifest in your 40s, 50s, or 60s. You most likely won’t even notice your developing hearing loss even though it’s a permanent condition. Years of noise damage is usually the cause. 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.

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

Blood pressure is a measure of how quickly blood flows through your circulatory system. High blood pressure means that this blood flows more rapidly than normal. Damage to your blood vessels can happen over time as a result. These blood vessels that have been damaged lose their elasticity and often become blocked. Cardiovascular issues, like a stroke, can be the consequence of these blockages. That’s one reason why healthcare professionals frequently pay close attention to your blood pressure.

What is considered high blood pressure?

Here are the general ratings for high blood pressure:

  • Normal: 120/8o
  • Stage 1 Hypertension: 130-139/80-89
  • Stage 2 Hypertension: 140 or Higher/90 or higher

A hypertensive crisis happens when your blood pressure goes over 180/120. Immediate management is needed when this happens.

How does hypertension cause hearing loss?

The blood vessels inside of your ear and your whole body can be damaged by hypertension. Usually, the nerves in your ear will also be damaged along with these blood vessels. The little hairs in your ears responsible for sensing vibrations, called stereocilia, can also be negatively impacted by high blood pressure. These stereocilia are not able to self-regeneration, so any damage they incur is irreversible.

So regardless of the particular cause, irreversible hearing loss can be the result of any damage. Research indicates that people with normal blood pressure readings tend to have a much lower prevalence of hearing loss. People who have hearing loss are more likely to have higher blood pressure. The impacts of hearing loss, in other words, can be decreased 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”. What are hot ears? It’s a symptom where 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 related to blood pressure.

In some cases, high blood pressure can worsen tinnitus symptoms. But if your tinnitus was being caused by high blood pressure, how would you know? The only way to know for certain is to talk to your doctor. 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.

Usually, it isn’t until you have your vitals taken at your annual exam that high blood pressure is detected. It’s a good reason to be certain you don’t miss those regular appointments.

How can you lower your blood pressure?

Typically, there are many factors that contribute to high blood pressure. That’s why lowering blood pressure may require a variety of strategies. Your primary care physician should be where you address your high blood pressure. That management may look like the following:

  • Take medication as prescribed: In some cases, high blood pressure can’t be addressed with diet and exercise alone. Although diet and exercise can be helpful, there are some cases where it will be necessary to take blood pressure medication as prescribed to manage hypertension.
  • Get more exercise: Getting regular exercise (or simply moving around on a regular basis) can help decrease your overall blood pressure.
  • Diet changes: Eating a Mediterranean diet can help you reduce blood pressure. Basically, avoid foods like red meats and eat more vegetables and fruits.
  • Avoid sodium: Pay attention to the amount of sodium in your food, particularly processed foods. Steer clear of processed food when you can and find lower salt alternatives if you can.

A treatment plan to manage your blood pressure can be formulated 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 indicate that lowering your blood pressure can help revive your hearing, at least in part. But at least some of the damage will likely be permanent.

Your hearing will have a better chance of recovering if you treat your blood pressure promptly.

Safeguarding your hearing

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

  • Talk to us: Any existing hearing loss can be preserved and early detection will be possible by getting routine hearing screenings.
  • Avoiding loud venues and events: Loud noises should be avoided because they can cause damage. If these places aren’t entirely avoidable, limit your time in noisy environments.
  • Wear hearing protection: You can protect 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.


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