February is National Heart Month, an opportune time to underscore the interconnectedness of cardiovascular health and hearing. While heart health is typically associated with activities like exercising and maintaining a heart-healthy diet, it’s crucial to recognize that our ears also play a significant role in this narrative.
Research has illuminated a connection between cardiovascular disease and hearing loss, prompting a collective focus on prioritizing both ears and the heart for overall well-being. The synergy between these two aspects of health is not coincidental; they function as integral parts of a larger system, and a heart condition may impact one’s ability to hear.
According to the World Health Organization, over 1.5 billion youth and adults worldwide grapple with hearing loss. Simultaneously, cardiovascular disease remains a formidable public health challenge, claiming the lives of 18 million individuals annually on a global scale. These statistics underscore the magnitude of these health issues and emphasize the need for a holistic approach to well-being.
The connection between hearing and heart problems becomes evident in various studies. For instance, a research review of national health surveys found that a majority of older adults with heart failure also experienced hearing loss. Additionally, for women with a history of heart attack, the risk of hearing loss doubles, according to another study. While the exact sequence of events leading to these issues is not always clear, it is established that the delicate hair cells in the inner ear, responsible for transmitting sound, are sensitive to blood flow and adequate circulation.
Moreover, cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, blocked arteries, or diabetes can impede blood flow to the inner ear and other parts of the auditory system, resulting in permanent hearing loss. This emphasizes the importance of addressing both cardiovascular health and hearing in a comprehensive manner.
Taking a proactive approach to support both hearing and heart health involves adopting positive lifestyle habits. Regular exercise, following a doctor-approved activity regimen, promotes cardiovascular health and contributes to overall well-being. A balanced and nutritious diet, focusing on whole foods, not only benefits the heart but also supports good hearing. It’s essential to limit the intake of saturated fats and eliminate artificial trans fats from the diet, as they can have adverse effects on both cardiovascular and auditory health.
Routine physicals and hearing checkups are valuable components of a comprehensive health strategy. Regular monitoring helps individuals stay ahead of potential issues, allowing for timely interventions and better overall health management.
It’s important to think of the various organs and functions within the body as members of a team who need each other to collectively perform their best. All the more reason to take better hearing to heart. n
Comprehensive Audiology, at 261 Broadway in Lynbrook, helps people of all ages live better by hearing their best. Appointments can be made by calling 516-387-4000 or by scheduling online at comprehensiveaudiology.com/make-appointment. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, YouTube, or Instagram @comprehensive_audiology.