WASHINGTON, DC—There is mounting evidence that cardiovascular problems are often associated with hearing loss. That’s why the Better Hearing Institute (BHI) is urging people with cardiovascular disease to get their hearing checked. Likewise, the institute is also advising people with hearing loss to pay close attention to their cardiovascular health.
BHI’s efforts are in observance of World Heart Day, coming up on September 29.
To help people determine if they need a comprehensive hearing test by a hearing healthcare professional, BHI offers a free, quick, and confidential online hearing check.
THE HEART-EAR CONNECTION
What’s the tie between heart and hearing problems? Well, the inner ear is extremely sensitive to blood flow. Studies have shown 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.
In a study published in the American Journal of Audiology, Raymond Hull and Stacy Kerschen examined extensive research conducted over more than six decades. They concluded that the published evidence shows a negative influence of impaired cardiovascular health on both the peripheral and central auditory system.
BHI consulted with David R. Friedland, MD, PhD, who has been studying the relationship between cardiovascular and hearing health for years. Friedland, who is professor and vice-chair of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, said, “The inner ear is so sensitive to blood flow that it is possible that any abnormalities in the cardiovascular system could be noted here earlier than in other less sensitive parts of the body.”
In an article published in The Laryngoscope, Friedland and fellow researchers found that an audiogram pattern showing low-frequency hearing loss correlates strongly with cerebrovascular and peripheral arterial disease and may represent a screening test for those at risk. They even concluded that patients with such an audiogram be regarded as at risk for cardiovascular events, and appropriate referrals should be considered.