Heart disease is the number one ailment in the United States. According to the C.D.C., heart disease affects over 800,000 people each year. The facts about heart disease and heart attacks have been studied for decades. However, in recent years, studies have emerged that show a link between heart disease and hearing loss. While anecdotal evidence has been piling up for years, in 2010, studies were published documenting the connection. Here are some of the most important findings.
In 2010 a group of researchers compiled the data collected for over 60 years focusing on hearing and heart health. They concluded that the data shows that hearing health deteriorates as heart disease worsens as blood flow is restricted along the central and peripheral auditory systems. The American Journal of Audiology conducted a study in 2017 that showed that many cardiovascular hazards, such as triglycerides and poor circulation, correlate with hearing loss. When triglycerides are found in the body in large amounts, it leads to a hardening of the arteries increasing the risk of stroke, heart attacks, and hearing loss. Breakdowns of long-term data have shown that decreased blood flow to the ears eventually harms hearing functions and can cause permanent damage. Without proper blood and oxygen circulation, the inner ear’s sensitive cells responsible for converting sounds into electrical signals become weak and can die, leading to hearing loss.
What Can You Do If You are at Risk of Heart Disease and Hearing Loss?
Being diagnosed with heart disease or hearing loss is not the end of the story. You can still lessen the effects of these degenerative conditions through lifestyle changes and better habits. Here are a few suggestions to help you cope with and slow the progress to help your hearing and heart health.
Getting up and moving around at least 2 hours a week has been shown to improve circulation and have an overall healing effect on the body. It only takes 17 minutes a day of walking, swimming, light weights, or any other physical activity that will benefit heart and hearing health.
Improve Your Diet
While eating better is such a common piece of advice, it has become a cliche. But, it’s still true; fried, sugary, processed food has been demonstrated to be very detrimental to general health, especially heart disease and hearing health.
Quitting Smoking and Drinking
Smoking and drinking have been proven to reduce oxygen in the blood, exacerbating already damaged areas in the body. Cigarette smoke is full of toxic chemicals that will take a heavy toll on the lungs and heart. Drinking, on the other hand, dehydrates the body and brain, reducing the amount of oxygen in the blood, and damaging the heart, brain, and liver.
It takes less than a month to change your lifestyle; if you or a loved one is at risk for heart disease and hearing loss, make sure to speak with an audiologist or a primary care physician about how to reduce risk factors and improve hearing and heart health. Listening to your heart has never been better for your hearing.