Your Circulatory System:
The association between heart health and hearing health is all about blood circulation throughout the body. Circulatory problems have the ability to affect any number of bodily processes, particularly in the most delicate areas of the body – like the cochlea, the delicate inner-ear organ responsible for sending sound signals to the brain. Conditions that restrict blood supply to the cochlea can starve the inner ear of necessary oxygen and permanently damage hearing. The Ear, Nose, and Throat Institute believes that the link between hearing loss and heart disease is primarily due to the inner ear’s sensitivity to circulation.
Established Cardiovascular Disease:
Cardiovascular disease causes hardening of the arteries, which affects your circulation and, in turn, could affect your hearing. If you have a history of heart disease, it is essential to have a baseline hearing evaluation to monitor changes in your hearing throughout the course of the disease.
Those with diabetes – particularly type 2 – are at a greater risk of heart disease and stroke, making them vulnerable to hearing loss.
High blood pressure can lead to problems in the organs affected, especially the delicate cochlea. Because of how small the cochlea is, the veins and arteries carrying blood through the cochlea are among the tiniest in the body, and are important to protect in order to preserve healthy hearing.
Early Signs of Hearing Loss May Indicate Other Health Issues:
David R. Friedland, M.D., Ph.D., professor and vice chair of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, believes that “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.”
Those who have diabetes, who smoke, and who have hypertension should get their hearing checked regularly. But those with heart disease aren’t the only ones at risk. Other health issues like chronic kidney disease, autoimmune disease and cognitive decline and dementia can affect your hearing, making hearing screenings imperative at regular checkups and in your medical records.