A Link Between Hypertension & Hearing Loss

A Link Between Hypertension & Hearing Loss

 

Hearing loss is linked to a host of negative health outcomes, such as reduced quality of life, relationship struggles, social isolation, and even depression. We now know that there is also a connection between cardiovascular disease and hearing loss, but does that also include high blood pressure? How do you know what to look for and what are the signs?

What is Cardiovascular Disease?

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?

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 referred to as prehypertension.  Only half of Americans with high blood pressure have their condition under control. This leads to a multitude of health problems and risks.

High Blood Pressure and Hearing Loss

While hearing loss can be caused by a variety of factors, it has become clear that high blood pressure may also be a contributing factor of hearing loss. A recent 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 for people with 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.

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.

Hearing Loss and Risk of Stroke

There is also a high correlation between high blood pressure and the incidence of a first stroke. The CDC reports that approximately 8 out of 10 people having a first stroke also have high blood pressure. About ten years ago 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. The group within the study who had severe hearing loss was 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.

Healthy Hearing Protects Mental Health

With an increase in hearing loss, individuals often experience more feelings of isolation, loneliness, and depression. This can lead to lower speech understanding.  There is even a link between untreated hearing loss and dementia. Because of this, it is strongly recommended 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.

Blood Pressure Checks and Hearing Tests Go Together

If you or someone you know has high blood pressure, visit us at Hearing Consultants today. Then visit your physician to have your blood pressure checked. The two conditions often go hand-in-hand, so recognizing the connection and seeking treatment could save someone’s hearing – or their life.

 

Treating Hearing Loss is an Important Part of Caring for Your Health as You Age

Treating Hearing Loss is an Important Part of Caring for Your Health as You Age

 

As you age your hearing will inevitably become more strained. Age-related hearing loss, or presbycusis, is the loss of hearing that gradually occurs in most of us as we grow older. Approximately one in three people in the United States between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss, and nearly half of those older than 75 have difficulty hearing. Are you worried about your hearing loss worsening over time? Not sure if you’re experiencing hearing loss? Here are five types of exercises you can do to help boost your hearing abilities!

Solving Puzzles to Combat Hearing Loss

The brain plays major role in processing sound information our ear receives.  It’s important not to ignore it. Research shows that there are links between hearing loss and mental conditions such as anxiety and depression. This may be a result of brain atrophy, which occurs when brain cells and connections shrink. Like muscles, your brain needs a workout to stay in shape and continue pumping.

Solving a variety of puzzles such as crossword puzzles, word searches, and Sudoku throughout the week are fun exercises that get your brain working to prevent atrophy. Playing bingo with your friends, and card games such as hearts and poker, are more great ways to work out your brain and combat hearing loss.

Do Yoga to Improve Your Hearing

Yoga is widely practiced for its many health benefits. There are even yoga exercises that help with your hearing as well! The goal of these exercises is to increase circulation in your ears and your brain, since increased circulation helps improve nerve functions and forces out harmful toxins.

Yoga poses that help with circulation include the tree pose, lotus pose, cobra pose, and triangle pose. Yoga can also help with tinnitus and an overall sense of peace and calm.  There are many videos online if there are no yoga classes in your area, so take advantage of this great way to protect your hearing.

Exercise Daily to Maintain your Hearing

Keeping your body in shape is important for keeping your ears and brain healthy. Exercise every day by going out for a walk, taking a jog, or even just gardening.  You could even turn your housework into an exercise routine. Anything to get your blood pumping and circulation going strong is good for your hearing health.

Try not to exercise with headphones, earphones, or any source of loud music, because repeated exposure to loud noise can damage ear cells, which are irreplaceable. If you decide to exercise with music, keep the volume relatively quiet and comfortable. As a rule, if other people around you can ear the music playing in your headphones or earbuds, your music is too loud.

Meditate to Improve Your Hearing

Meditate in your backyard or a park, or anywhere you will be surrounded by gentle sounds. As you meditate, take deep breaths to help blood circulation and increase oxygen in your body. Focus on each sound around you and try to locate where each sound is coming from. This exercise will relax you, and also help you concentrate on deciphering sounds in noisy environments by determining the location of each sound.

Practice Focusing on and Locating Sounds to Sharpen your Hearing

Hearing exercises can help you hone in on where sounds are coming from and who or what is making the sounds. There are exercises you can do with a friend or loved one to improve your hearing health.  Place a Bluetooth speaker or radio in one area of the room, and play music at a comfortable volume. Place another sound source in a different area of the room, and turn up the volume until the combination of the two sounds creates a noisy environment.

Have someone move around the room while reading sentences from a book or newspaper. Close your eyes, repeat the sentence back to them, and try to locate where the person is standing in the room.

Hearing Consultants

It is normal for hearing to decline with age, but with some of these daily exercises you can practice harm reduction to slow this process.  These are only a few of the  exercises that can keep your hearing and brain in shape. If you’ve noticed any recent changes to your hearing health, visit us today at Hearing Consultants for a hearing test.

Start the Year Off Right with an Annual Hearing Test

Start the Year Off Right with an Annual Hearing Test

Perhaps your New Year’s started off with a bang?  Fireworks, shouting and rejoicing are part of many New Year celebrations but may have left your ears ringing and buzzing.  This New Year’s fun may leave you with serious hearing loss.  You cannot begin to treat your hearing loss until you identify that you have a problem, and like any medical condition, the sooner you address the problem the better. Because of this, it’s important to recognize the signs of hearing loss. Below are some signs you may be suffering from hearing loss.

  1. You have trouble understanding what people are saying over the phone. It could be an issue with your phone, but if struggling to hear over the phone is a consistent problem, it could be an issue with your ears. Check the volume setting, and if you find yourself inching the volume up louder and louder, you may have hearing loss.
  2. You have trouble following a conversation when people are talking at once. Our ability to process multiple incoming and competing signals deteriorates with age, so being lost in conversation occasionally isn’t always a sign of hearing loss. However, if you’re at a work meeting or eating dinner with friends, and you frequently have a hard time keeping up when two or more people speak at the same time, you may have hearing loss.
  3. Others complain that your TV is too loud Television programs and movies can be hard to follow, particularly during times when music is competing with dialogue. Turning the TV up louder doesn’t always help make the sound clearer. If you consistently need the TV turned up so loud that it’s uncomfortable for others in the room, or if your neighbors can hear it, it’s time to get a hearing test.
  4. You’re exhausted from straining to hear conversations. Constantly straining to hear and follow conversation is mentally and physically fatiguing. Doing so can make you feel exhausted and worn out after even a normal day. So, if a typical day of conversing with coworkers, friends and family leaves you with a headache or feeling physically fatigued, you may have a hearing loss.
  5. You have trouble hearing in noisy environments. Perhaps you found it difficult to hear people during this year’s holiday celebration. With many conversations going on at once it is difficult to distinguish the conversation you are in. People with hearing loss often have problems masking out background noise and focusing on speech. This is a very common patient complaint heard by hearing care professionals, and if it happens to you often, it could be time for a hearing evaluation.
  6. You say “What?” too often. Just because you didn’t hear a mumbling co-worker from 10 feet away doesn’t mean you have a hearing loss but, if “what?” is becoming the most commonly used word in your vocabulary, it could mean you aren’t getting the sound signals you need to process speech correctly. You may have hearing loss.
  7. You misunderstand what people say.  Misunderstanding people can cause awkward situations. If your life is feeling like a farce of miscommunication it may stem from the beginnings of high frequency hearing loss that affect our ability to discern the sounds of speech.
  8. You have trouble hearing children and people with high pitched voices. Hearing loss within a specific range is common, and with age, you’re more likely to experience hearing loss in the high frequencies. People with higher pitched voices, such as children, may be harder to hear, while people with deeper voices are easier to understand.
  9. You become annoyed and frustrated during conversation.It’s easy to get frustrated and annoyed at those around you when you cannot understand what they’re saying. The feeling of frustration are normal and understandable since communication is an important part of life. If you’re being honest with yourself, you may recognize that you are not actually annoyed at those speaking to you, but more so with a hearing loss you’re beginning to notice. 

Hearing Consultants

These problems can be addressed with proper treatment from a hearing health professional. The sooner you find a solution, the less time you’ll spend isolated, disconnected, and at risk for other health concerns. An annual hearing exam can give you peace of mind that you’re doing everything you possibly can to take care of your hearing health and maintain your quality of life. Don’t let untreated hearing loss deter you from having a healthy and happy life, but call us today to schedule a hearing test.