Hearing and Heart Health
February is Heart Health Month. You might be surprised to discover that hearing loss may be an early sign of cardiovascular disease in seemingly healthy people. A study first published in Laryngoscope in February 2009 found the risk of hearing impairment was significantly greater in people with underlying atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries than in those without vessel abnormalities. The study also showed that hearing loss is more common than previously thought in people in their 40’s and 50’s.
Research performed by David R. Friedland, MD, PhD, Professor and Vice-Chair of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, explains the cardiovascular-hearing health link:
“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.”
Hearing loss is frequently associated with other physical, mental, and emotional health conditions and people who address their hearing loss often experience a better quality of life.
If you’re 50 or older, (or sooner if you notice signs of hearing loss), it’s important to get your hearing tested as a routine part of your medical care. Detecting hearing loss – as well as heart disease – will allow you to take the proper steps to improve your quality of life and help you enjoy more years ahead!