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Healthy Hearing ― Healthy Heart

09/25/2015

(Thanks to the Better Hearing Institute (BHI) for the basis of this week’s blog content).

Your heart and hearing may have more in common than you realize. That’s why we’re joining BHI, hearing care professionals, and other hearing advocacy groups in raising awareness of the link between hearing loss and cardiovascular disease for World Heart Day, which is on Tuesday, September 29 this year. A growing body of research shows that a person’s hearing health and cardiovascular health frequently correspond.

If you suspect you have hearing loss, you can begin by taking our free online hearing test. If the results indicate you may have a problem, don’t delay in making an appointment with your doctor to have yourself checked out. A physician can evaluate your overall health and determine whether you have any circulatory issues affecting your hearing that should be investigated further. They may also determine you need a comprehensive hearing test and refer you to a hearing care professional.

Why hearing loss may be an early symptom

Studies show that a healthy cardiovascular system—a person’s heart, arteries, and veins—has a positive effect on hearing. Conversely, inadequate blood flow and trauma to the blood vessels of the inner ear can contribute to hearing loss.

David R. Friedland, MD, PhD, Professor and Vice-Chair of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, has been studying the relationship between cardiovascular and hearing health for years.

He 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 fellow researchers found that audiogram pattern correlates strongly with cerebrovascular and peripheral arterial disease, and may represent a screening test for those at risk. In their study, they concluded that patients with low-frequency hearing loss should be regarded as at risk for cardiovascular events, and appropriate referrals should be considered.

Part 2 coming next week: Five Heart-Healthy Reasons to Get a Hearing Test

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