Hearing Loss and Overall Health Series – Focus On the Connection Between Hearing and Heart Health

In many of our other posts, we’ve mentioned there is a connection between hearing loss and a variety of other conditions that affect our health.  Today we’re continuing our series of Hearing Loss and Overall Health entries that will focus on specifics in greater detail.

Today’s Focus is (of course) The Heart

ear of heart

 

In honor of Valentine’s Day, our post today is about how certain types of hearing loss can be a signal that your heart health is at risk – specifically cardiovascular and peripheral arterial disease.

Studies have shown that a healthy cardiovascular system—a person’s heart, arteries, and veins—has a positive effect on hearing. Conversely, inadequate blood flow and trauma to the blood vessels of the inner ear can contribute to hearing loss.

David R. Friedland, MD, PhD, Professor and Vice-Chair of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, has been studying the relationship between cardiovascular and hearing health for years. He offers up this response:

“The inner ear is so sensitive to blood flow that it is possible that abnormalities in the cardiovascular system could be noted here earlier than in other less sensitive parts of the body.”

In one study, published in The Laryngoscope, Dr. Friedland and fellow researchers found that audiogram patterns correlate strongly with cerebrovascular and peripheral arterial disease and may represent a screening test for those at risk. They even concluded that patients with low-frequency hearing loss should be regarded as at risk for cardiovascular events. [1]

A study published in the American Journal of Audiology concluded that the negative influence of impaired cardiovascular health on both the peripheral and central auditory systems and the potential positive influence of improved cardiovascular health on these systems have been found through a sizable body of research conducted over sixty years. [2]

Who would have thought that a hearing test could be the window to your heart?

If you do end up receiving a result that your hearing is less than perfect, take heart! Hearing aid technology is up to par with other technological devices and can pair with smart phones, work with blue tooth, and some are invisible! People who take an active part in their hearing health are generally known to have a better quality of life. And eight out of ten hearing aid users say they’re satisfied with the changes that have occurred in their lives, specifically due to hearing aids – from self-confidence, to work, to social interactions to relationships.

We’d like to wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day, and to urge you to get a hearing test, so that you don’t risk missing one single “I love you.”

Sources:
[1] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/lary.20130/abstract
[2] http://aja.pubs.asha.org/article.aspx?articleid=1757459