on September 29 in response to a growing body of research showing a link between cardiovascular and hearing health. To help people determine if they need a comprehensive hearing test by a hearing healthcare professional, BHI is offering a free, quick, and confidential online hearing check at
Raymond Hull, PhD, professor of communication sciences and disorders in audiology and neurosciences at Wichita State University, recently completed research
analyzing 84 years of work from scientists worldwide on the connection between cardiovascular health and the ability to hear and understand what others are saying. Hull’s work, which reviewed 70 scientific studies, confirmed a direct link.
According to Hull, “Our entire auditory system, especially the blood vessels of the inner ear, needs an oxygen-rich nutrient supply. If it doesn't get it due to cardiovascular health problems, then hearing can be affected."
While there are many possible causes of hearing loss, cardiovascular disease appears to exaggerate the impact of those causes and intensify the degree of hearing decline, says Hull. This compounded effect not only increases the difficulty a person experiences in perceiving what has been said, but also diminishes their ability to make sense of what they hear with speed and accuracy. Could hearing loss be an early sign of cardiovascular disease?
Research is ongoing, but a number of findings suggest that keeping track of your hearing may help you monitor your cardiovascular health as well.
“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,” according to David R. Friedland, MD, PhD, Professor and Vice-Chair of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.
In Dr. Friedland’s own 2009 study
, published in The Laryngoscope
, he and fellow researchers found that audiogram pattern correlates strongly with cerebrovascular and peripheral arterial disease and may represent a screening test for those at risk. They even concluded that patients with low-frequency hearing loss should be regarded as at risk for cardiovascular events, and appropriate referrals should be considered.
More recently, a 2014-published study
by researchers at the University of Wisconsin in Madison found that the risk of hearing impairment was significantly greater in people with underlying atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, than in those without vessel abnormalities, suggesting that hearing loss may be an early sign of cardiovascular disease in apparently healthy people, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal
. The study involved a large cohort of middle-aged participants and showed that hearing loss is common in people in their forties. http://ow.ly/RTuu9 http://ow.ly/RTuBJ
BHI urges adults of all ages to make a hearing check a healthy heart choice for World Heart Day 2015. To take the online BHI Hearing Check, visit www.BetterHearing.org
or link directly to http://ow.ly/RTwjl
. 5 Heart-Healthy Reasons to Get a Hearing Test