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Hypertension And Tinnitus: All You Need To Know!

By Irene Sophia

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Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a prevalent condition affecting millions worldwide. While frequently linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke, hypertension can also lead to other health complications, including tinnitus – a persistent ringing, buzzing, or hissing sound in the ears.

This article explores the connection between hypertension and tinnitus, providing valuable insights for managing and treating this condition.

What Is High Blood Pressure?

High Blood Pressure

When there is a persistently high force of blood on the walls of arteries, it is known as hypertension or high blood pressure. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines normal blood pressure as below 120/80 mm Hg, while hypertension is a systolic pressure (top number) of 130 mm Hg or higher, or a diastolic pressure (bottom number) of 80 mm Hg or higher.

What Is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus

Tinnitus is the medical term for perceiving ringing, buzzing, whistling, or hissing sounds in the ears without an external source. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) states that tinnitus is common, affecting about 15-20% of people.

How Does High Blood Pressure Cause Tinnitus?

The link between hypertension and tinnitus lies in the increased strain high blood pressure places on blood vessels, including those in the inner ear. When blood pressure is elevated, tiny ear blood vessels can become damaged or constricted, reducing blood flow and oxygen supply to the auditory system.

This lack of adequate blood flow and oxygen can cause changes in the delicate inner ear structures, including hair cells responsible for transmitting sound signals to the brain. Consequently, these hair cells may become damaged or dysfunctional, leading to tinnitus perception.

Tinnitus: A Sign Of High Blood Pressure

While tinnitus can have various causes like loud noise exposure, ear infections, or head injuries, it can also be an early hypertension warning sign. The American Tinnitus Association notes that tinnitus may be one of the first hypertension indicators, particularly if the ringing or buzzing is pulsatile, occurring in sync with your heartbeat.

How To Treat High Blood Pressure-Induced Tinnitus?

Treating hypertension-induced tinnitus typically involves managing and controlling the underlying high blood pressure. Strategies may include:

Lifestyle changes

Adopting a healthy lifestyle can greatly contribute to lowering blood pressure. This may involve following a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, engaging in regular physical activity, managing stress, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.  

Medications

Your healthcare provider may prescribe blood pressure-lowering medications, such as diuretics, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, or calcium channel blockers, to help control hypertension and potentially alleviate tinnitus symptoms.

Sound therapy

Various sound therapy techniques, like masking devices, tinnitus retraining therapy, or certain types of music or white noise, can help distract from or reduce tinnitus perception.

Stress management

Stress can exacerbate both hypertension and tinnitus. Incorporating stress-reducing activities like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises into your routine may help manage both conditions.

Things To Consider If You Suffer From Tinnitus

If you experience tinnitus, it’s essential to have your blood pressure checked regularly and discuss your symptoms with a healthcare professional. They may recommend additional tests, such as an audiological evaluation or imaging studies, to rule out other potential causes and determine the best course of treatment.

It’s also crucial to be proactive in managing your tinnitus and hypertension. Follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations for lifestyle changes, medication adherence, and regular follow-up appointments to monitor your progress.

Conclusion

The connection between hypertension and tinnitus is well-established, with high blood pressure being a potential cause of persistent ringing or buzzing in the ears. By understanding this relationship and taking steps to manage hypertension through lifestyle changes, medication, and working closely with healthcare professionals, individuals can potentially alleviate or prevent tinnitus symptoms.

Remember, tinnitus can be a warning sign of underlying health conditions like hypertension. If you experience persistent or worsening tinnitus, seek medical attention to determine the cause and receive appropriate treatment. With proper management and a proactive approach, both hypertension and tinnitus can be effectively addressed, improving your overall quality of life.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does tinnitus from high blood pressure sound like?

Tinnitus from high blood pressure can sound like a constant ringing, buzzing, hissing, or other persistent noise in the ears.

What is the simple trick to stop tinnitus?

There is no simple trick to stop tinnitus, but managing underlying conditions like high blood pressure may help reduce or eliminate tinnitus symptoms.

Will lowering blood pressure stop tinnitus?

 Lowering high blood pressure can potentially stop or reduce tinnitus in some cases, as high blood pressure can contribute to tinnitus by increasing blood flow turbulence in the ears.

How do I feel if my BP is high?

If your blood pressure is high, you may experience symptoms like headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, or shortness of breath.

What should I do if my BP is 140 90?

You should make lifestyle changes (diet, exercise, stress management) and consult a healthcare professional for potential medication or further treatment.

References

  • Ehret GB et al. The genetics of blood pressure regulation and its target organs from association studies in 342,415 individuals. Nat. Genet 48, 1171–1184 (2016). [PMC free article]
  • D.S. Fortune, D.S. Haynes, J.W. HallTinnitus: current evaluation and management Clin North Am, 83 (1999), pp. 153-162 [Google Scholar]

Irene Sophia

Dr. Irene Sophia is a highly experienced, board-certified gastroenterologist. She received her medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where she graduated at the top of her class. Dr. Sophia then completed her residency in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, followed by a fellowship in gastroenterology at Mayo Clinic.

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