Let’s look at a hearing loss & your heart health.
We all know that cardiovascular exercise boosts circulation. We also know that regular exercise can help protect us from life-threatening conditions like heart disease. But research also says that keeping our hearts healthy could have an added bonus: protecting our long-term hearing health.
The Heart Disease-Hearing Loss Connection
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says heart disease is the main cause of death in both men and women. It takes 610,000 lives each year in the United States alone. People who have heart disease can have a number of different issues affecting the heart and its vessels. Most commonly, heart disease results in a narrowing of blood vessels. This leads to chest pain, a heart attack, or a stroke. Other results from this disease include problems with the heart?s muscles, valves, or rhythm. But people tend to misjudge the effects that heart disease can have on other parts of their health.
Sergei Kochkin, Ph.D., a hearing industry market researcher, spoke on the severity and prevalence of heart disease. He also mentions its impact on hearing health. The cardiovascular disease robs the life of about one American every minute, and heart disease is the #1 killer of women he says. Yet, 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 Cardiovascular Problems Can Affect Your Hearing
If you are wondering what the link is between your heart health and hearing, the answer is circulation. Research shows that keeping a healthy blood flow helps to protect hearing. But poor circulation and damage to blood vessels of the inner ear can create long-term hearing problems.
This is due to the hair cells in the inner ear. They rely on a steady supply of oxygen to survive. These hair cells play a big role in changing the sounds you hear into electrical signals. The signals can then be interpreted by the brain. So, when poor circulation results in low oxygen supply to the inner ear, the hair cells are at risk of becoming forever damaged. This would result in permanent hearing loss.
Studies Point to the Benefits of Exercise
Sensorineural hearing loss is permanent, and scientists have yet to find a cure for it. However, it is treatable with hearing aids. Studies suggest that taking up a doctor-approved exercise plan may help to protect the hearing you still have.
Researchers at Miami University recently found a link between hearing levels and cardiovascular exercise. The study examined 102 people between 22-78 years old. It would look at the people’s hearing after riding a bicycle. They found that those in better shape were also hearing better than the others. This was particularly true among those age 50 and older.
Researchers at the Department of Health, Exercise, and Recreation Management at the University of Mississippi, Oxford, also found that people who stayed active had lower triglyceride levels. This may be significant in terms of hearing health because a link has also been found between high triglyceride levels and hearing loss. That study involved 1,070 people ages 30 and older. It was put in the American Journal of Audiology in June 2017.
The bottom line is, we need to take heart disease seriously. Says Charles E. Bishop, AuD, Assistant Professor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s Department of Otolaryngology and Communicative Sciences. He also says we should know the often fatal complications and be aware of the way it can change all areas of life. This includes the health of our ears.
“Hearing health should not be assessed in a vacuum,” the professor said. “There is simply too much evidence that hearing loss is related to heart disease and other health conditions. We need to maximize the information we have in order to benefit the individual’s overall well-being.”
Researchers now have a theory that low-frequency hearing loss could be a sign that heart disease is present. If not present, it may be at higher risk to develop. If you have any changes in your hearing, make an appointment with a hearing professional. Also, follow up with your family doctor for an assessment of your overall health.
Contact Hearing Group today
Hearing Group makes treating hearing loss easy, with our complimentary hearing exams and hearing aid test drives. No matter your level of hearing loss, we would be happy to help you find the best hearing solutions for your needs. Get in touch today!