It’s February, which, thanks to Valentine’s Day, is a good month to discuss matters of the heart. Plenty will be written and said about the heart’s connection to love. We’ll leave that topic to the relationship experts. Instead, we want to discuss the heart’s connection to hearing and hearing loss — a subject much more in our comfort zone. And studies show there is a connection. Turns out hearing health and cardiovascular health both impact the other. Let’s probe a bit deeper.
The heart’s effect on hearing
Key to good hearing is having a healthy auditory system. And key to a healthy auditory system is sufficient blood flow to critical parts, particularly the cochlea. When circulation to the cochlea is impeded for whatever reason — whether from cardiovascular disease or hypertension, for instance — it can be deprived of vital elements needed to maintain its health and function, like oxygen and glucose. When our auditory system is consistently deprived of these vital elements, it makes sense that hearing loss could be a result. A study published in the American Journal of Audiology proves it. Looking at various research conducted over 60 years, experts from Wichita State University noted the “impaired cardiovascular health” negatively influenced hearing health and concluded there may be “a positive relationship between cardiovascular fitness/health and the function of the…central auditory systems in adults.”
Hearing’s effect on the heart
Another study, published in the medical journal, The Laryngoscope, found significant association “between low-frequency hearing loss and cardiovascular disease and risk factors.” What’s interesting about his study is the possibility that low-frequency hearing loss can “predict the presence or potential development of cardiovascular disease.” The study’s authors suggest adults diagnosed with low-frequency hearing loss should be referred to appropriate medical professionals to assess potential heart-related risks.
What you need to know
Regardless of which affects which, it’s important to know that hearing health and heart health are intertwined. More importantly, if you’re concerned about either, take this month to get them checked. Visit your medical provider for issues related to your heart, and contact a hearing professional for a hearing screening and consultation.
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