High Blood Pressure and Hearing Loss

High blood pressure and hearing loss

Data shows some link between high blood pressure and hearing loss.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 70 million adults in the United States have high blood pressure, or hypertension. That amounts to nearly one in three adults; furthermore, another one in three adults are living with elevated blood pressure results that are below the level considered to be high blood pressure but above the norm. This is called prehypertension, and roughly only half of Americans with high blood pressure have their condition under control. This leads to a multitude of health problems and risks, many of which are well-known. However, most people are not aware of another effect of high blood pressure that has been discovered: hearing loss.

While hearing loss can be caused by a variety of factors, it has come to light that high blood pressure may also be a contributing illness to hearing loss. A recent 2013 study evaluated the potential association between high blood pressure and hearing loss. In that research, a total of 274 individuals between the ages of 45 and 64 were evaluated. Dr. Mohan Jagade, a physician in the Department of ENT and Head and Neck Surgery, Grant Medical College and J.J. Hospital, and his team discovered that in subjects presenting elevated blood pressure, there was a significant increase in the presence of hearing loss. The researchers in the study surmised that hypertension is an accelerating factor in the degeneration of the auditory system and hearing as people age.

Also, there is a high correlation between high blood pressure and the incidence of a first stroke. The CDC reports that approximately eight out of 10 people having a first stroke also have high blood pressure. In 2008, The American Heart Association published a recap of a large group study on the association between sudden sensorineural hearing loss and stroke. Researchers found that the there is a definitive and clear correlation between the two. While the exact specifics tying the two together are still being studied, the warning flags are already present. The group within the study who had severe hearing loss were more than 150 percent more likely to experience a stroke within two years of the occurrence of a sudden hearing loss. Any potential disturbance in the blood flow to the tiny capillaries in the inner ear can cause permanent and devastating hearing loss, and it is theorized that the presence of high blood pressure impacts the blood flow to the delicate structures in the inner ear.

It is well-documented that with increases in hearing loss, individuals often experience more feelings of isolation, loneliness, and depression while suffering from auditory deprivation, a condition that can lead to lower speech understanding ability and even greater chance of dementia if left untreated. Therefore, it is strongly advised that if you have any risk factors for hearing loss, such as high blood pressure, you should have your hearing thoroughly evaluated on an annual basis to detect early hearing loss before it is too late.

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