Heart disease is the number one cause of death for both men and women in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control. In addition to putting you at risk for heart attacks and strokes, heart disease has been linked to an increased risk of hearing loss. The reason may be related to blood flow.
What Is Heart Disease?
Heart disease kills around 655,000 Americans each year. Usually the result of blood vessel damage caused by high cholesterol, narrowed arteries or high blood pressure, this condition can cause ruptures, spasms and blockages of blood vessels. Smoking, diabetes, an unhealthy diet, being overweight, excessive alcohol use and physical inactivity can increase your risk of heart disease.
According to former executive director of Better Hearing Institute, Sergei Kochkin, Ph.D., “An alarming number of Americans don’t understand how serious the threat of heart disease is to them personally, or how closely intertwined it is with other health conditions, such as hearing health. We urge women and men alike to know their risks and to take action today to protect their heart and hearing health.”
How Blood Flow Connects Hearing Loss and Heart Disease
Within your inner ear are tiny hair cells responsible for converting soundwaves into electric impulses that are sent through the auditory nerve to the brain to be interpreted as sound. These hair cells rely on good blood flow in order to work properly. Poor circulation can cause these hair cells to become damaged and die, leading to permanent hearing loss.
A 2018 study published in the journal of Clinical Otolaryngology looked to determine the relationship between hearing loss and the risk of cardiovascular disease. A total of 5107 participants were enrolled between 2010 and 2015. Participants underwent a pure tone test to assess their hearing loss, and cardiovascular risk was assessed with a questionnaire and measurements including blood pressure, body mass index, waist circumference, lipid profile and glycated hemoglobin.
The results indicated that cardiovascular disease risk factors were associated with hearing loss. Some researchers suggest that mild hearing loss may be a sign of eventual heart disease.
To learn more about protecting your hearing or to schedule an appointment with a hearing professional, contact Indiana Hearing Specialists today.