Hearing Loss and Heart Disease

Heart disease is one of the top causes of death for both men and women. It has also been linked to hearing loss. “According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women, killing nearly 610,000 people every year in the United States.”

Sergei Kochkin, PhD, hearing industry market researcher and former Executive Director of the Better Hearing Institute, said. “Yet, an alarming number of Americans don’t understand how serious the threat of heart disease is to them personally, or how closely intertwined it is with other health conditions, such as hearing health.”

The connection between heart health and hearing loss all comes down to blood flow. In recent studies, good circulation plays a vital role in maintaining great hearing health. Inadequate blood flow and trauma to the blood vessels of the inner ear can contribute to hearing loss. The delicate hair cells which do not regenerate in the cochlea rely on good blood circulation in order to translate sound from your ears to your brain. When you have poor circulation, these hair cells do not get adequate oxygen causing damage to your ear health and permanent hearing loss.

In a study published in the June 2010 issue of the American Journal of Audiology, authors Raymond H. Hull and Stacy R. Kerschen reviewed research conducted over the past 60 years on cardiovascular health and its influence on hearing health. Their findings confirm that impaired cardiovascular health negatively affects both the peripheral and central auditory system, especially in older adults.

Exercise may help

A study by researchers at Miami University discovered a positive relationship between hearing acuity and cardiovascular exercise. The study followed 102 non-smoking volunteers from Indiana and Ohio ranging in age from 22-78, whose hearing was evaluated after riding a stationary bicycle. Researchers concluded those with higher cardiovascular fitness levels had better hearing, especially among those age 50 and older.

A larger study published in the American Journal of Audiology in June 2017 by researchers at the Department of Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management at the University of Mississippi, Oxford, analyzed data from the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and involved 1,070 participants, 30 years of age and older. Those who were more physically active displayed lower triglyceride levels. High triglyceride levels are associated with hearing loss.

‘Hearing loss is related to cardiovascular disease’

Charles E. Bishop, AuD, Assistant Professor in the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s Department of Otolaryngology and Communicative Sciences, encourages Americans to take cardiovascular disease seriously, both for it’s life-threatening effects and impact on all areas of life, including hearing health.

“Hearing health should not be assessed in a vacuum,” said Bishop. “There is simply too much evidence that hearing loss is related to cardiovascular disease and other health conditions. It’s time we maximized the information we have in order to benefit the individual’s overall well-being.”

How to get help

Researchers hypothesize low-frequency hearing loss could be an indicator of the presence or potential development of cardiovascular disease. Start your journey to better health by finding a hearing aid clinic near you and making an appointment with a qualified hearing healthcare professional from our extensive directory. If hearing loss is detected, follow treatment guidelines and follow up with your family physician.