How Does Your Heart Health Affect Your Hearing?

September 24th, 2014 | by Andreas Seelisch | Hearing Health

World Heart Day is on September 29th and seeks to spread awareness about cardiovascular disease and the importance of a healthy heart in relation to your overall health. However, few people probably thought that their heart and their hearing could possibly be related or that an unhealthy heart may increase the chances of you having hearing loss.

According to studies a healthy cardiovascular system can positively affect your hearing health.

What exactly is the link between your heart and your hearing?

The culprit when we’re talking about heart disease is inadequate blood flow and trauma to blood vessels in the inner ear. Research suggests that injured blood vessels, like when heart disease is present, can lead to reduced blood flow to the body.

Professor and Vice-Chair of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, David R. Friedland, MD, PhD, says “The inner ear is so sensitive to blood flow that it is possible that abnormalities in the cardiovascular system could be noted here earlier than in other less sensitive parts of the body.”

Dr. Friedland and a team of researchers found a strong correlation between audiogram pattern and cerebrovascular and peripheral arterial disease. This led Dr. Friedland and his fellow researchers to conclude that those with low-frequency hearing loss may need to be appropriately referred for further assessment.

Cardiovascular diseases are a result of illnesses and injuries of the cardiovascular system, which includes not just your heart, but your arteries and veins (blood vessels) located throughout your body and in your brain. For instance, a stroke is also one form of heart or cardiovascular disease.

According to Statistics Canada one person in Canada dies from heart disease or stroke every 7 minutes and these illnesses represent two out of the top three causes of death. Deaths by heart disease represent about 29 per cent of all deaths in the country.

In the United States one person dies every minute from heart disease or stroke.

Women and Men appear to be affected slightly differently with 29.9 per cent of women dying from cardiovascular disease compared to 28 per cent of men. This is in line with a trend that sees more women die of heart disease than men each year.

But the news isn`t all bad. Back in 2011 Statistics Canada found that the prevalence of cardiovascular disease had declined by 75 per cent since 1952. Within the last decade the prevalence of heart disease fell by 40 per cent.

The reason for the decline is attributed to advancements in research, surgical procedures, medicine, and prevention efforts.

Deaths broken down by type of heart disease:

  • 54% from ischemic heart disease
  • 20% from stroke
  • 23% from heart attack

What are the risk factors?

The key risk factors associated with heart disease include:

  • Family history of early heart disease
  • Age

The controllable risk factors include:

  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Physical inactivity
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes

If these risk factors seem all too familiar to you then it may be of interest to you to schedule a hearing test with an Audiologist or Hearing Instrument Specialist. At Hearing Solutions we offer free adult hearing assessments at any one of our locations across Ontario.

You may not need hearing aids, but knowing how your heart health may be affecting your hearing health is key to being proactive about your wellbeing.

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