It’s February, so get ready to focus on chocolate, roses, heart-shaped cards—and heart health? Widely known as the month where Valentine’s Day falls, February is also American Heart Month, which makes it a great time to explore the importance of good heart health and its role in preventing hearing loss.
Hearing involves several parts of your body, including the inner ear and the cochlea. If these parts do not get an adequate blood supply due to an improperly functioning heart, your hearing can be affected.
Your inner ear is particularly sensitive to blood flow, so obstructions in your arteries and veins—symptoms of poor cardiovascular health—can impact the peripheral and central auditory systems, leading to hearing loss.
In addition, the cochlea, a fluid-filled tube in the inner ear that translates sound into nerve impulses, can fail to work properly when damaged or subjected to decreased blood flow. A study of 1,600 patients with a history of cardiovascular disease showed they were 54% more likely to experience impaired cochlear function, further evidence of how essential blood flow is to good hearing.1
Men, individuals over the age of 65 and those with a family history of heart issues are more susceptible to cardiovascular disease. Taking preventative measures such as losing weight, quitting smoking, eating healthier and maintaining healthy blood pressure can help your heart—and your hearing—stay strong.
And if you already know you have some form of cardiovascular disease, it’s time to have a real heart-to-heart with a hearing specialist about getting a hearing evaluation.
1 University of Wisconsin-Madison. (2002, April 30). Advances. https://news.wisc.edu/advances-45/