Ringing Ears and Blood Pressure - Causes and Lifestyle Tips

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Ringing Ears and Blood Pressure - Causes and Lifestyle Tips

Understanding Tinnitus (Ringing Ears)

What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus describes hearing noises that have no external source. It often presents as phantom ringing, buzzing, roaring, clicking or hissing sounds. The noises can be intermittent or continuous and occur in one or both ears.

Prevalence in the United States

Roughly 25 million Americans experience tinnitus to some degree. Of those, an estimated 20 million struggle with burdensome chronic tinnitus symptoms.

Common Causes

The most common causes include:

  • Noise-induced hearing loss from loud noises
  • Earwax buildup blocking soundwaves
  • Ear bone changes from aging
  • Blood vessel disorders

In many instances, an exact cause cannot be pinpointed. Risk increases with age, tobacco use, diabetes, hypertension, previous ear infections, and family history.

Tinnitus Link to Blood Pressure Problems

Shared Risk Factors

High blood pressure and tinnitus commonly co-occur because they share risk factors like smoking, obesity, inactivity, alcohol abuse, stress, sodium intake, and aging. Poor blood pressure regulation also links to development of tinnitus symptoms:

  • Narrowing blood vessels reduce blood flow, depriving auditory cells of vital oxygen
  • Hypertension can create turbulence in neck veins and arteries near the inner ear

Indications of an Underlying Issue

Sudden onset ringing ears accompanying exercise headaches, vision changes, chest tightness or shortness of breath may signal an urgent hypertensive crisis requiring immediate medical attention.

Ringing ears and dizziness getting worse when moving from sitting to standing may also indicate blood pressure dysregulation in conditions like orthostatic hypotension.

Impact of Prescription Medications

Certain blood pressure medications list tinnitus or ringing ears as a potential side effect, especially when first starting treatment or increasing dosage. These include:

  • Diuretics
  • Beta-blockers
  • ACE inhibitors
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers
  • Calcium channel blockers like amlodipine

Always talk to your doctor if experiencing new tinnitus symptoms after beginning any prescription drug regimen.

Lifestyle Changes to Improve Both Conditions

Follow a Healthy Diet

Eat an anti-inflammatory diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and omega-3 fats. Limit salt, sugar, saturated fats and processed choices. Stay hydrated and minimize caffeine and alcohol which can increase ringing sensations.

Increase Physical Activity

Regular cardio and strength training improves circulation and blood vessel elasticity. Even light walking and stretching during breaks at work make a difference long-term.

Manage Stress Levels

Chronic stress overworks the sympathetic nervous system. Relaxation practices like yoga, mindfulness meditation, deep breathing and getting out in nature counterbalance this response for better health.

Improve Sleep Habits

Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night. Practice good sleep hygiene by establishing a bedtime routine, limiting blue light exposure in the evenings, and making your bedroom a sanctuary for rest.

Consider Supplements

Some supplements like magnesium, B-complex vitamins, ginkgo biloba, and coenzyme Q10 may aid blood circulation to help reduce ringing ear symptoms.

Always check with your doctor before taking new supplements, especially if also on prescription blood pressure medications which may interact.

When to Seek Medical Care

Schedule an appointment with your doctor whenever ringing in the ears:

  • Occurs suddenly or without apparent cause
  • Feels distressing or disabling
  • Persists nonstop for over 24 hours

Likewise follow up if you experience pulsatile tinnitus that beats in time with your heart, which may require imaging tests to pinpoint an underlying blood vessel or heart issue.

Tracking blood pressure alongside tinnitus symptoms can help identify problematic patterns requiring evaluation and treatment adjustments.

While rarely dangerous itself, tinnitus serves as an early warning sign worth discussing with medical professionals.

FAQs

What blood pressure medications can cause tinnitus?

Some common drug classes that may list ringing ears or tinnitus as a side effect include diuretics, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers, and calcium channel blockers like amlodipine.

Does high blood pressure always cause ringing ears?

No, high blood pressure does not always cause tinnitus or ringing ears. However, poor blood pressure regulation can reduce blood flow to the inner ear or create turbulence in nearby blood vessels for some people, contributing to tinnitus development.

Can tinnitus be cured if high blood pressure is controlled?

For some patients, better controlling high blood pressure reduces or resolves pulsatile tinnitus ringing that pulses with the heartbeat. But tinnitus has many causes and there is no single cure. Lifestyle management alongside any needed medical treatment provides the best chance of relief.

Should I go to an ER for sudden ringing in the ears?

Seek emergency care if sudden onset tinnitus occurs in tandem with vision issues, chest pain, headaches, dizziness, or shortness of breath which may signal a medical crisis like hypertensive emergency or stroke where fast diagnosis and treatment are critical.