Most people know that high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can lead to various serious health problems, including cardiovascular disease and stroke. Nearly half of adults in the United States have hypertension or are taking medication for hypertension. Unfortunately, only about 1 in 4 adults with hypertension have their condition under control.
But many people are surprised to discover that this common condition can also cause hearing loss, and in some cases, hearing loss is a warning sign that could potentially save your life.
What is High Blood Pressure?
A growing body of research revolves around circulatory health and hearing loss. For example, smoking cigarettes has been linked to hearing loss, as smoking increases your blood pressure. This could lead to the small veins’ constriction in your head and neck area, inevitably affecting your auditory system.
Many people don’t realize they have high blood pressure since it’s not a condition you can feel. Most people find out their blood pressure is abnormally high during their annual physical. Untreated hypertension can wreak havoc on your body, causing many problems, including hearing loss.
Blood pressure refers to the measure of the force of the blood pushing against your arteries and veins. High blood pressure (hypertension) occurs when that force is too high and begins harming the heart and blood vessels. Specifically, blood pressure is considered high when the upper number is higher than 120, and lower numbers are higher than 80.
What Does High Blood Pressure Do?
When your blood pressure is high, the blood vessels throughout your body are at risk for damage, including the delicate blood vessels in your ears that help you hear. Studies have found a significant correlation between high blood pressure and hearing loss in the general population. Also, high blood pressure seems to accelerate age-related hearing loss by restricting blood flow to the inner ear and the brain regions involved with hearing.
It must also be noted that high blood pressure has been linked to other medical conditions, such as strokes and heart disease. A healthy circulatory system is crucial in the hearing process, as parts of your ear receive sound waves, translate them into neural signals, and process them in the auditory cortex of your brain.
If you have been diagnosed with hypertension, it is essential to listen to your doctor to get your condition under control. In addition to improving your overall health, lowering your blood pressure should prevent additional hearing loss.
Sudden hearing loss may be a sign of an impending stroke. Unlike the gradual hearing loss associated with aging or noise-induced hearing loss, Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSHL) is marked by a rapid onset of hearing loss. For example, one day, you may hear just fine, and a few days later, you may have difficulty hearing the television or a loved one.
If you or someone you know experiences SSHL, you should consider that a medical emergency. Have your hearing checked and visit a doctor immediately, as this symptom might signify an imminent stroke. Scientists say that if you experience sudden and severe hearing loss, you are 150% more like to experience a stroke within two years.
Hearing Loss and High Blood Pressure
Hearing loss and high blood pressure often go hand in hand. Recognizing this connection could not only save your hearing – it could save your life. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, hearing screenings are necessary. In addition, if you have experienced hearing loss, you should not assume that hearing loss is just part of the natural aging process. It is advised to get your blood pressure tested as soon as you are able.
Whether you’re 35 or 65, it’s essential to take steps to stay healthy. Keeping active and eating nutritious food will naturally lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of diabetes.
If you experience high blood pressure and feel it affects your hearing, the first step is to take a hearing test. Hearing specialists recommend an annual hearing test for US adults age 50 and older. Just as you would schedule a regular physical checkup with your physician, you want to make sure that your hearing is regularly looked after.
If you or a loved one is experiencing hearing difficulty in the Las Vegas area, visit Hearing Associates of Las Vegas to schedule a hearing evaluation today. A simple appointment such as this could be the difference between potentially saving your hearing or having your symptoms worsen. Take the steps now to improve the quality of life for you and those you care about.