The Connection Between High Blood Pressure and Hearing LossFeb 05, 2014
We know there is a connection between cardiovascular disease and hearing loss, but does that include high blood pressure? How do you know what to look for? What are the signs? Find out…
Cardiovascular disease is simply defined as a disease of the heart or the blood vessels. Anytime your heart muscle isn’t working properly, or blood flow in your veins and arteries is impeded, that is cardiovascular disease. So what about high blood pressure? Is that cardiovascular disease? And what does that have to do with hearing loss?
Hypertension and Cardiovascular Disease
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a disease in and of itself, and it is a major risk factor for stroke and heart disease. So while it is not in itself cardiovascular disease, it can – and often does – lead to cardiovascular disease, and should be taken seriously.
What Exactly Is Blood Pressure, Anyway?
Blood pressure is a measure of the force of blood against your arteries and veins. The top number (systolic) notes the pressure when your heart pushes blood out, and the bottom number (diastolic) notes the pressure when your heart is relaxed between beats and is not pumping any blood. Your blood pressure is considered high when the upper number (systolic) is higher than 120 and the lower number (diastolic) higher than 80.
Why Is Hypertension Bad?
When your blood pressure is high, it means the blood is pushing through your arteries very fast. This fast-moving blood can cause damage to the lining of artery walls, and in those damaged areas, fatty plaque can build up. Over time, too much damage to the artery walls – and too much fatty plaque buildup – can lead to diminished or stopped blood flow. And that becomes cardiovascular disease.
Hypertension and Hearing Loss
The link between high blood pressure and impaired hearing isn’t difficult to understand. When your blood pressure is high, your blood vessels are damaged. This damage isn’t centered in one area of the body – your entire body is affected, including your ears. And when the blood vessels in your ears are damaged – and have a fatty plaque buildup – your hearing could be impaired.
As Blood Pressure Goes Up, Hearing Goes Down
A study published just last February demonstrated a clear link between hypertension and hearing loss. The study included 274 patients between the ages of 45-64, and found that as blood pressure increased, hearing diminished. They also found that as blood pressure was brought under control, hearing could be restored.
The study concluded that high blood pressure can accelerate hearing loss, and because hearing affects a person’s quality of life so dramatically, it is important that people with high blood pressure get their hearing checked by a trained audiologist immediately to ensure that their hearing isn’t affected by hypertension.
Blood Pressure Checks and Hearing Tests Go Together
If you know someone with high blood pressure, get them to an audiologist today. If you know someone with hearing loss, make sure they are also checking their blood pressure. The two conditions often go hand-in-hand, and recognizing the connection could save someone’s hearing – or their life.
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