Hearing Connection to Heart Health

Published on Feb, 13, 2020

Hearing loss is connected to heart health

Did you know that your hearing is connected to your heart health? Nearly six decades of research shows that there is a strong connection between the two.

Although there are many causes of hearing loss, cardiovascular disease may increase the impact of hearing loss. Scientists believe that it's all about blood flow.1 The inner ears are extremely sensitive to blood flow. Heart problems can cause a buildup of plaque in the arteries and restrict blood flow, which also causes irreversible damage to the ear.1 Also, the delicate nerves in the cochlea play an important role in translating noise in your ears to electrical impulses to your brain.

“The inner ear is so sensitive to blood flow that it is possible any abnormalities in the cardiovascular system could be noted here earlier than in other less sensitive parts of the body,” explains David Friedland, MD, Ph.D., of the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.  Dr. Friedland has been studying the hearing-cardiovascular connection for years.

Take care of your hearing health

In addition to maintaining heart-healthy habits, it’s important to regularly monitor your hearing. Considering the well-established link between heart disease and hearing loss, it’s recommended that anyone over the age of 40 get an annual hearing test as part of their routine medical screening. If it’s found that you do have hearing loss, hearing aids are the most common treatment option.

Expert Charles E. Bishop, AuD, Assistant Professor in the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s Department of Otolaryngology and Communicative Sciences, stresses the importance of considering your hearing health as an important part of your overall health. “Hearing health should not be assessed in a vacuum, he says. “There is simply too much evidence that hearing loss is related to cardiovascular disease and other health conditions. It’s time we maximized the information we have in order to benefit the individual’s overall well-being.”

About heart disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women in North America, representing in one in four deaths every year. The good news is that many forms of heart disease can be prevented through healthy lifestyle choices.

The terms heart disease and cardiovascular disease are often used interchangeably. They describe a range of diseases and conditions that affect your heart. Types of heart disease include:

  • Atherosclerotic disease: The hardening and narrowing of the arteries due to the build-up of fats, cholesterol and other substances.
  • Heart arrhythmias: Abnormal heartbeats, whether irregular, too fast or too slow.
  • Congenital heart defect: A heart abnormality you’re born with.
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy: The heart becomes enlarged and cannot pump blood effectively.
  • Endocarditis: An infection of the heart’s inner lining, typically involving the heart valves.
  • Valvular heart disease: Damage to or a defect in one of the four heart valves.

How to lower risk of heart disease

Some studies show that a healthy cardiovascular system may positively affect hearing. Small lifestyle changes can reduce your risk for heart disease and hearing loss.2 Here are 6 tips to follow:

  1. Eat a healthy balanced diet - Load up on veggies, whole grains and lean proteins. Avoid processed foods and use spices and herbs to flavor meals that you make at home.
  2. Quit smoking  It's the single biggest change that you can make to improve your heart health.
  3. Care for your mental health - Mindfulness, deep breathing and other stress-reducing techniques have been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. Take time for yourself and try daily meditation. Just 10-20 minutes a day can make a difference.
  4. Increase exercise A moderate walk five times a week can help your health and stress levels. Find more resources at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
  5. Protect your ears Walk away from loud noises, turn down the volume and keep earplugs in your purse or car for unexpected, noisy situations. 
  6. Know your numbers - Track your blood pressure, blood glucose levels, BMI, HDL and total cholesterol.

If you’re still debating whether or not it’s worth getting your hearing check, consider this: you have nothing to lose, and so much to gain. Schedule your free hearing test today.

 

1 https://www.healthyhearing.com/report/52833-Hearing-loss-and-heart-health

2 https://www.earworksaudiology.com/protect-hearing-heart/

News & Blog

Catch up on the latest news and stories on hearing health.
Learn more

Get support and advice

Request a complimentary hearing test

Request now

Test your hearing online

Take the test

Find your nearest clinic

Find a clinic