Hypertension: The Surprising Reason Behind Hearing Loss

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You may think that loud noises are the only cause of hearing loss, but think again! Research is finding several surprising ways our hearing can be damaged, from aspirin to diabetes, but did you know heart health can also play a role in hearing loss? Specifically, hypertension has been connected to hearing impairment.

This common condition is now gaining notoriety not just for its part in the bigger cardiovascular system, but also for its long-lasting effect on hearing. Researchers have begun to dig deeper into this effect, finding a startling connection. In a recent study, published in the Indian Journal of Otolaryngology and Head & Neck Surgery, it was found that “there was a mild hearing loss in 18% of patients without hypertension. 36.7% of patients with grade 1 hypertension included in our study suffered from mild hearing loss, 40.4% of patients with grade 2 hypertension and 54.2% of patients with grade 3 hypertension were found to be suffering from mild hearing loss.”

While still a relatively small study, the results showed a clear need for not only further research into hypertension and hearing loss but also education to help prevent many cases of hearing loss through proactive management of blood pressure.

The research to this point may be limited, but experts believe that hypertension can damage blood vessels throughout the body thereby impacting blood flow to the ear. When this blood flow to the inner ear is insufficient, it can result in damage to hearing.

What You Can Do

If you believe your hearing may be at risk from hypertension, it’s time to take action! The good news is that smart lifestyle choices can help you manage your blood pressure and reduce your risk of hearing loss. If you haven’t already, work with your physician to run tests and get a baseline for your blood pressure and other heart health indicators. Your doctors may recommend working with a dietitian and incorporating certain lifestyle changes link these:

  • Adopt a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy.  Plant-based proteins and fish can be great choices for lean protein that supports heart health. The DASH diet was designed specifically to help individuals lower blood pressure and proves a top pick by experts year after year.
  • Whether it’s a daily walk, a swim or a trip to the gym, get moving. The general recommendation is 30 minutes per day but check with your doctor on personalized recommendations for you.
  • Get to a healthy weight. Extra pounds can have a serious impact on blood pressure. If you are over your healthy weight, make it a goal to lose just 10% (working with your doctor or dietitian) to start heading in the right direction while making a big change for the better on your health.

Don’t let hypertension steal your hearing! Take action now to prevent hearing loss. If you haven’t already, get a hearing evaluation to determine if you are affected by hearing loss and, with the help of your hearing healthcare provider, identify ways to manage it.


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