June 2, 2023

Cardiovascular Health and Hearing Loss: Discovering the Surprising Connection

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Cardiovascular Health and Hearing Loss: Discovering the Surprising Connection

It's no secret that heart disease is a leading cause of death globally, affecting both men and women. These alarming statistics have prompted experts to focus on better understanding heart health and identifying risk factors. Interestingly, recent research has highlighted a lesser-known connection between cardiovascular health and hearing loss. This piece explores these findings, emphasizing the importance of good heart health for maintaining optimal hearing.

The Link Between Cardiovascular Health and Hearing

According to several studies, there is a strong association between cardiovascular health and hearing loss. You might wonder how these two systems are related – it's primarily about blood flow. The delicate structures in our inner ear, such as the hair cells responsible for translating sounds into electrical signals, rely heavily on good circulation. When blood flow is inadequate due to narrowed or stiffened arteries, these hair cells receive less oxygen, which can lead to damage and, eventually, permanent hearing loss.

One key study in the American Journal of Audiology analyzed research conducted over six decades, concluding that impaired cardiovascular health negatively affects both the peripheral and central auditory systems. A more recent analysis, involving over 5,000 Australians, found a strong link between heart disease and related risk factors such as high blood pressure, and an increased risk of hearing loss.

Tinnitus and Heart Disease

Tinnitus, which is the persistent perception of ringing or buzzing in the ears, can also be linked to heart disease. In particular, vascular issues like abnormal blood vessels or hardened and narrowed arteries can cause pulsatile tinnitus – a type of tinnitus that sounds like a heartbeat. If you experience this symptom, consult a healthcare provider to rule out potentially harmful underlying conditions related to your heart health.

Strokes and Auditory Complications

Strokes occur when the blood supply to the brain is disrupted, depriving it of oxygen. When a stroke impacts the areas of the brain responsible for hearing and balance, it can result in hearing impairment, dizziness, and other vestibular changes. In some cases, strokes can lead to long-term changes in hearing, such as difficulty recognizing spoken words or auditory hallucinations.

Exercise for Better Hearing and Heart Health

While sensorineural hearing loss is permanent, engaging in cardiovascular exercise can help preserve your remaining hearing, especially if you suffer from obesity. Research from Miami University found a positive relationship between hearing ability and cardiovascular exercise in non-smoking participants. These findings were further supported by a larger study from the University of Mississippi, which determined that more physically active individuals exhibited lower triglyceride levels – high triglycerides are associated with hearing loss.

The Importance of Taking Action

Given the strong connection between hearing loss and cardiovascular disease, you shouldn’t underestimate the impact of heart health on overall well-being, including auditory function. Healthcare professionals stress the importance of assessing hearing health as part of a comprehensive approach to maintaining good health and preventing further complications.

Recent research has shed light on the interdependence of cardiovascular health and hearing, and staying informed about these connections can ultimately prove life-saving. By prioritizing your heart health, you are also protecting your ability to hear, ensuring a better quality of life for years to come. Embrace a heart-healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, and stress management. By doing so, you not only decrease your risk of heart disease but also promote better hearing health.

In the end, it's crucial we challenge the misconception that hearing loss is only a natural part of aging. Instead, we should recognize its connection to broader health issues and take proactive measures to protect both our cardiovascular and hearing health. By raising awareness of this connection, we encourage a holistic approach to healthcare – one that emphasizes the interdependencies between different aspects of our well-being. Only when we understand and address these connections can we truly improve our health, achieve a higher quality of life, and enjoy the sounds that make life worth living.

See Us For a Hearing Test

If you think you may have hearing loss, schedule an appointment with us today. In addition to providing personalized hearing assessments and treatments, we can offer advice on ways to prevent hearing loss. Early intervention can improve communication, reduce feelings of isolation, and enhance overall well-being.

To further support your journey to better heart and hearing health, contact us at The Hearing Spa to set up an appointment. 

Written by
Reviewed by
Dr. Victoria L. Moore
Lead Audiologist
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Dr. Victoria Moore (Vicky) serves as President as well as Lead Audiologist at The Hearing Spa. She moved to the USA from England in 1991 and has been serving the communities of Sarasota and Bradenton for over 20 years. Her independent audiology practice focuses on adult hearing loss, tinnitus management, as well as Cochlear Implant services.


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