How Heart Health Affects Hearing Health

New research from Brigham and Women's Hospital reveals that a healthy heart may be the key to keeping your hearing healthy. The study, published in the American Journal of Medicine, suggests a possible link between cardiovascular disease and hearing loss.

Maintaining a healthy heart, veins and arteries can help lead to healthy hearing. Our hearing systems are sensitive to changes in blood flow. Compromised cardiovascular health may harm the peripheral and central auditory systems. Simply stated, inadequate blood flow can damage your hearing.

In the study, researchers also found correlations between certain audiometric patterns and arterial disease. One pattern, a reverse slope, which identifies low frequency hearing loss, may suggest the presence of cardiovascular disease. 

The study could prompt hearing professionals to consider making a referral to assess cardiovascular health after low frequency hearing loss has been identified. Additional cardiovascular disease risk factors, which can also increase risk of hearing loss, include a sedentary lifestyle, increased body mass index and a large waist circumference.

An active lifestyle can improve cardiovascular health and increase blood flow to the ear. According to the American Journal of Medicine study, increased physical activity can actually decrease your risk for hearing loss. The American Heart Association also recommends maintaining a healthy diet and keeping blood pressure within a healthy range.

Be heart and hearing healthy and have your hearing tested as part of your routine medical care. Individuals with risk factors for developing heart disease and those who have already been diagnosed should be especially vigilant about hearing health. Learn more about healthy hearing by following us on Facebook and Twitter.

By Beth McCormick, Au.D.

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