Decades of research point to a link between heart and hearing health. Raymond H. Hull, PhD, professor of communication sciences and disorders in audiology and neurosciences at Wichita State University, and Stacy R. Kerschen, Au.D., conducted an analysis of 84 years of work from scientists worldwide on the link between cardiovascular health and the ability to hear. Their work, which reviewed 70 scientific studies, confirmed a direct link. The findings of their analysis also suggest that hearing loss may be an early sign of heart disease.
“Our entire auditory system, especially the blood vessels of the inner ear, needs an oxygen-rich nutrient supply,” said Hull. “If it doesn’t get it due to cardiovascular health problems, then hearing can be affected.”
Hearing Loss May Be an Early Sign of Heart Disease
Other research suggests that hearing loss may be an early sign of heart disease in seemingly healthy middle-aged people, and even found that hearing loss is common in people in their 40s.
David R. Friedland, MD, PhD, Professor and Vice-Chair of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, went so far as to conclude from his study that patients with low-frequency hearing loss should be regarded as at risk for cardiovascular events, and appropriate referrals should be considered.
Why? Because 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. Other experts agree and encourage collaboration among hearing care providers, cardiologists, and other healthcare professionals.
5 Things Your Heart and Ears Have in Common
- Someone with heart disease is at a higher risk of depression – and someone with unaddressed hearing loss is at a higher risk of depression. Better Hearing Institute research shows that people with hearing loss who use hearing aids are more likely to be optimistic and feel engaged in life.
- Exercise is good for your heart – and exercise is good for your ears. One study found that a higher level of physical activity is associated with a lower risk of hearing loss in women.
- Smoking hurts your heart – and it’s really bad for your ears too. Research shows that both smokers and passive smokers are more likely to suffer hearing loss.
- Your heart and ears love omega-3 fatty acids. Research has found that regular fish consumption and higher intake of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are associated with a lower risk of hearing loss in women.
- Obesity puts people at risk for heart disease – and it affects hearing function. A number of studies show a link between obesity and hearing loss. One looked at women (18 to 40 years old) and found a link. Another uncovered a connection between higher BMI and a larger waist circumference, and hearing loss in women.
Adapted from information provided by the Better Hearing Institute, Accessed 12/26/2018.
You should understand and take control of all aspects of your health, not only for your heart health, but for good hearing. This may even be more critical if you have a history of heart disease. Call 1-855-547-8745 or schedule an appointment online with a doctoral-level audiologist for a comprehensive hearing evaluation.