You are probably aware of the fact that cardiovascular disease is an extremely dangerous condition. But, did you know that heart disease and hearing loss often go hand-in-hand? Hearing loss is an early sign of heart disease, and heart disease may affect your hearing.
Studies have shown that more than half of adults with cardiovascular issues also experience hearing loss. So, maintaining a healthy heart and getting routine hearing tests may not only be beneficial for improving your hearing, but it may save your life.
The relationship between hearing & cardiovascular health
There is a lot of blood around the inner ear, so your inner ear is extremely sensitive to variations in blood flow. One of the most important parts of your body related to hearing is the cochlea (a small-shaped tube that is full of fluid). The cochlea converts sound waves into nerve impulses, which are transmitted to the brain. If there is an injury to the cochlea or if the blood vessels supporting the cochlea become damaged, it can dramatically decrease your hearing. A healthy cardiovascular system can help to maintain the health of blood vessels surrounding the cochlea. If there is a change in blood flow due to an issue with your cardiovascular system, it can have a significant impact on your hearing.
Maintaining a healthy heart & healthy hearing
In addition to scheduling routine hearing evaluations, some of the things you can do to maintain your heart and hearing health may include:
- Schedule a checkup – if you are noticing that your hearing may not be as good as it used to be, do not ignore it. Talk with your medical practitioner about what you are experiencing and ask for recommendations. This is especially important if you are already aware that you are at high risk of cardiovascular disease due to lifestyle, genetics, or other factors.
- Eat healthy foods and exercise – obesity is extremely harmful to your heart, and it has been shown to increase the risk of hearing problems. Eating healthy and regular exercise can help to reduce your risk of diabetes and heart issues, both of which can affect your hearing.
- If you smoke, stop! – tobacco products contain much more than simply tobacco. They also contain a variety of toxic chemicals, such as formaldehyde and ammonia, which can damage the sensorineural and conductive functions of your ears.
- Limit your alcohol consumption – it has been shown that moderate-to-heavy drinking on a regular basis may damage the part of your brain that is responsible for auditory processing. Toxic levels of alcohol in the bloodstream also increase the risk of losing the hair cells that conduct sound to the brain.
- Avoid exposure to excessive and loud noise – you are probably aware of the dangers of loud noises to your hearing, but did you know that loud noise may also be bad for your heart? Studies have shown that continuous exposure to loud noises, for example, if you are exposed at work, may increase the risk of heart disease. Make sure to wear hearing protection if you regularly hear loud noise; it can save your hearing and your heart.
Talking with your family physician and your hearing specialist can help you start on the road to a healthy heart and healthy hearing. Keep in mind that although good heart health isn’t necessarily a cure for all hearing problems, maintaining good heart and blood-vessel health can certainly go a long way in preventative maintenance for healthy hearing.