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Hearing loss has been linked to many negative health outcomes, such as an increased risk of social isolation, depression, and dementia. Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, can be a huge risk factor for stroke and heart disease, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this can mean that up to one in three adults suffer from high blood pressure. But what does this have to do with hearing loss?
What is Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is a measure of the force of blood against your blood vessel walls. If the blood pressure is high, it means that your heart is pumping the blood through your arteries very fast. Excessive force causes damage to the smooth lining of blood vessel walls, resulting in areas where fatty plaque build-up. This can cause a bump that get larger as more plaque collects. The long-term effect of this is that the blood vessels collect a significant amount of fatty plaque, which diminishes or stops blood flow and could potentially create a blood clot.
What Causes High Blood Pressure?
Several factors increase the risk of having high blood pressure, and these include high salt intake, smoking, obesity, lack of physical activity, significant alcohol consumption, stress, age, and genetics. A recent study showed that only half of Americans with hypertension have it treated and under control. A contributing factor to this is most people do not know when their blood pressure increased and need to have their blood pressure checked to even be aware that they are outside of healthy limits.
Preventing High Blood Pressure
The connections between various components of our health are not always obvious. In fact you may not feel any different when your blood pressure is high. Within your body, higher blood pressure can injure and narrow your arteries over time. The consequences of damaged arteries ultimately can result in stroke, cardiovascular disease, or kidney disease, which is one of the reasons to prioritize a yearly physical with your general doctor. This way they can spot the presence of abnormalities before the dangerous consequences develop.
The consequences of hearing loss to overall health
Similar to our blood pressure, we frequently can’t perceive the small changes as our hearing loss develops. Even if it doesn’t seem as though hearing loss is directly connected to dangerous physical disorders and cognitive decline, the science is telling us that everything is more connected than we think. In the same way that increases in blood pressure can injure arteries and cause circulation problems anywhere in the body, hearing loss can reduce stimulation and cause damage to the brain. Scientists have found that hearing loss can trigger social isolation and depression, which are known risk factors for mental decline.
Hearing Health and Hypertension.
Over the past 80 years, a plethora of studies have tied the health of your ears to the health of your cardiovascular system — your heart, arteries, and veins. Studies show the possibility of your ears being a major indicator of your overall heart health. Compromised hearing can be caused by restricted blood flow to the inner ear over time causing permanent damage, so if you have high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease, it could be affecting your ability to hear and understand speech.
Hearing and your Heart
The association between cardiovascular health and hearing health is all about blood circulation throughout the body. Circulatory problems have the ability to affect any number of bodily processes, particularly in the most fragile parts of the body — like the cochlea, the delicate inner-ear organ responsible for sending sound signals to the brain. High blood pressure can lead to problems in the cochlea, damaging cells, depriving cells of oxygen and nutrients, and causing permanent hearing loss.
Blood Pressure Checks and Hearing Tests Go Together
If you or anyone you know has high blood pressure, visit us at Hearing Health Portland today! Schedule a hearing test, and find out if your hearing has been affected by your blood pressure. And if you or a loved one has hearing loss, make sure you also visit your doctor to check your blood pressure. Hearing loss and hypertension go hand-in-hand, so recognizing the connection could save your hearing – or even your life.