It hits without warning. Someone says something or does something you don’t like, and you fly into a rage. You probably aren’t thinking about it when you’re in a verbal altercation, but frequent arguments may be harming your hearing. Furthermore, it’s not the yelling that’s doing the damage.
How arguments affect your hearing
According to the CDC, more than 70 million Americans suffer from high blood pressure. That’s nearly 30% of us. Another 30% have pre-hypertension, meaning they possess a high risk of developing high blood pressure. During tense moments, like arguments, this at-risk group is likely to exceed healthy blood pressure levels.
In addition to harming your hearing, high blood pressure does several other harmful things to your body. According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s a slow killer. High blood pressure damages and narrows the arteries that take oxygen and nutrients to your cells. Circulation becomes a laborious task for the heart. It has to work harder to pump blood where it needs to go.
If your blood pressure regularly exceeds healthy levels, you’re at increased risk of:
- organ failure
- heart attack
That’s a frightening list.
If you suffer from high blood pressure, frequent arguments may harm your hearing because you already have an increased risk for hearing loss. In a 2013 study, researchers examined 274 people between the ages of 45 and 64. Participants with high blood pressure were significantly more likely to experience hearing loss.
Another study revealed individuals with high blood pressure and severe hearing loss are 150% more likely to have a stroke within 2 years than people with high blood pressure only.
Why high blood pressure is a risk factor
While the exact cause-and-effect between high blood pressure and hearing loss isn’t clear, the results aren’t surprising. The intricate mechanisms in your inner ear are very delicate. If high blood pressure reduces blood flow to your ears or damaging blood vessels, your hearing will become impaired. Fatty plaque build-up is also a contributing factor. Unlike other parts of the body, the cells in your inner ears do not heal or regenerate.
The good news
There is a silver lining – there are many ways to lower your blood pressure and reduce the risk of hearing loss and other serious health issues.
Consider reading self-help books, meditating, talking to a counselor, or learning mindfulness techniques to stay calm and centered when conversations get heated. Counseling sessions, in particular, may help you get to the root causes of your anger. Focusing on the greater context and beyond the specific situation may also help you stay grounded.
You should consider getting a hearing test and talking to a hearing specialist about treatment options. In a 2019 survey by Cochlear Americas, 86% of participants reported hearing loss had affected their interpersonal relationships.
You will be happier and live healthier with your hearing restored. Get a hearing test, wear your hearing aids, and speak with a hearing specialist about your hearing loss treatment options as soon as possible.