The 48 million Americans with hearing loss face a higher risk for a number of associated health conditions. Many of these, such as loneliness, dementia and falls, are well-documented. A new study shows a previously unknown correlation between hearing impairment and high blood pressure.
Noise Exposure & Hypertension
If you suffer from hearing loss in Katy your odds of hypertension are higher, according to a new paper published in the September 5 edition of the PLOS ONE research journal. The study looked at the relationship between occupational noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) and blood pressure and found that chronic noise exposure increases the risk of hypertension.
How many workers encounter hazardous workplace noise?
More than 600 million workers around the world are exposed to hazardous noise levels in the workplace, according to the study’s authors. This makes noise exposure one of the most common workplace hazards; in the U.S., occupational NIHL is the most prevalent job-related disease.
How many adults have high blood pressure in the U.S.?
The number of adults in the U.S. with high blood pressure exceeds 100 million.
Are hearing loss and hyptertension linked?
There are a number of causes, but previous attempts to link noise exposure and hypertension had been inconclusive, largely because of the difficulty involved in measuring total noise exposure over an extended time period.
How did the study find a link between the two?
The research team, based in China, addressed this issue by using hearing loss as a marker for noise exposure. They examined data from 21,403 workers with occupational noise exposure. The patients’ average age was 40. Researchers looked at a variety of health data obtained through audiometric tests and blood pressure readings.
Did researchers find a concrete connection?
The longer workers had been exposed to occupational noise, the more likely they were to have hearing loss. Those with mild hearing impairment had a 34 percent risk of hypertension, while individuals with severe hearing loss were 281 percent more likely to have high blood pressure.
That’s a pretty significant association, leading the study’s authors to conclude, “The present study suggested that occupational noise exposure was positively associated with blood pressure levels and hypertension risk.”
Is there a difference between blood pressure and noise in women and men?
Men were more likely to develop high blood pressure than women, possibly due to the fact that males are more likely to find work in noisy occupations than females.
The large sample size and dual measurements (hearing loss and length of work) lend credence to the findings, though the lack of long-term follow-up with participants, the fact that scientists did not account for certain hypertension risk factors such as body mass index, tobacco and alcohol use and psychological factors and the inability to measure actual workplace noise levels and assess whether workers wore ear protection prevent the researchers from definitively proving a causal relationship between noise and high blood pressure.
Further tests will be needed to confirm the link. Still, it is worth taking note of.
What should you do if you think you have hearing loss?
If you are experiencing hearing loss in Katy, let your primary physician know so they can screen for possible hypertension.
Learn more about Noise-Related Hearing Loss:
- Shooting for Safe Hearing
- Don’t Put the Pedal to Heavy Metal: Spin Class & Hearing Loss
- Tinnitus & Concerts
Our Katy Audiologist Office Location
21715 Kingsland Blvd
Katy, TX 77450