We have all heard for years about the need to take care of our hearts, as cardiovascular disease is a leading killer of both men and women in the United States. However, recent studies of seniors show that those with cardiovascular disease are 54 percent more likely to have a hearing impairment. This news is particularly bad for women, as women who have had a heart attack were 2.7 times more likely to experience hearing impairment than those who have not had one.
This connection was first made in 2002 at the Wisconsin University. Studies in the American Journal of Audiology reviewed over 60 years of research and re-confirmed the connection in 2010. They believe that the connection between cardiovascular disease and hearing loss happens because when the heart’s ability to provide blood supply to the inner ear is impaired. The blood vessels in the ear are of course dependent on good blood flow, so when that flow is impaired, the ear’s ability to function is also impaired. They even believe that a diagnosis of low frequency hearing loss may be a good sign of existing or impending heart disease.
What does that mean for all of us? It means that, like we’ve been told for years, incorporating exercise into our daily routine will help not only our hearts, but our ears as well. Studies have confirmed that individuals who exercise even once a week are 32 percent less likely than sedentary people to develp hearing loss.
Along with exercise, both heart doctors and audiologists recommend limiting your use of alcohol, tobacco and recreational and prescription drugs. These substances can cause blood vessel restriction, which will limit the flow of blood to the ears. Also, these substances can increase tinnitus, which is often associated with hearing loss.