Everyone knows high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can lead to a variety of serious health problems including cardiovascular disease and stroke. But many people are surprised to discover that this common condition can also cause hearing loss, and in some cases, that hearing loss is a warning sign that could save your life.
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 the lower number higher than 80.
Hypertension’s Effect on Hearing
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. Studies have found a significant correlation between high blood pressure and hearing loss in the general population. In addition, high blood pressure seems to accelerate age-related hearing loss by restricting blood flow to the inner ear and to the regions of the brain involved with hearing.
If you have been diagnosed with hypertension, you should follow your doctor’s orders to get the condition under control. In addition to improving your overall health, lowering your blood pressure should prevent additional hearing loss.
Sudden Hearing Loss as a Symptom
Sudden hearing loss could be a sign of an impending stroke. The American Heart Association published study that establishes a relationship between sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) and stroke. Unlike the gradual hearing loss associated with aging or noise-induced hearing loss, SSNHL 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 not be hearing the TV anymore.
If you or a loved one experience sudden hearing loss, you should consider that a medical emergency. Have your hearing checked and visit a doctor immediately, as this symptom might be signaling an imminent stroke.
Hearing Tests and Medical Check Ups are Vital
Hearing loss and high blood pressure often go hand in hand, and recognizing the connection could save your hearing – or your life. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, hearing screenings are a must. In addition, if you have experienced hearing loss, don’t assume that hearing loss is just part of the natural aging process. Get your blood pressure tested.