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.
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.”
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:
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:
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.