As you are getting older you may find yourself saying, “What? Can you repeat that,” much more often. Although age-related hearing loss can be annoying and sometimes embarrassing, it’s not uncommon. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that nearly one-quarter of those aged 65 to 75 experience hearing loss due to age which not only affects hearing but has been linked with cognitive decline and even an increase risk of falls and fractures.
A newer report suggests that hearing loss can also be an indication of cardiovascular health and so if you’re asking more frequently for others to repeat themselves; it may also be a sign of a weak heart as well.
There is much evidence to support that hearing loss may reveal a person’s heart health. But what does hearing have to do with matters of the heart? Well, just like every other part of your body which requires a blood supply to properly function your ear is not exempt from the rule.
Although your ears don’t require as much blood flow as other parts of the body, even the small amount of blood it does receive could indicate problems with the heart. You see, when blood flow changes to the ears, or other parts of the body, that can be an indicator of heart health and for your ears to function properly they need a strong heart to pump blood to them.
Heart disease is a condition where blood flow becomes restricted due to narrowed arteries which limit circulation. When blood flow is restricted to the ears this can cause irreversible damage thus contributing to hearing loss. Researcher Dr. David Friedland, professor and vice chair, Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences at the Medical College of Wisconsin explained, “The inner ear is so sensitive to blood flow, that it’s possible that abnormalities in the cardiovascular system could be noted here, earlier than in other less sensitive parts of the body.”
Because there seems to be a connection between hearing and the heart many doctors recommend for those over the age of 40 that routine hearing tests are routinely conducted in order to detect heart and hearing problems early on to prevent future damage from occurring.
On the other hand, if you are already diagnosed with a heart condition – cholesterol, high blood pressure, even diabetes can affect the heart – it’s important to keep these conditions under controls as to not worsen them and cause blood flow to diminish thus hurting your hearing.
For further protection of your heart and ear, experts recommend following a heart-healthy diet filled with fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein along with regular exercise which, when combined together, can create a stronger heart and boost circulation which can benefit your hearing.
If you’ve notice that your hearing isn’t quite what it used to be it may also be a wise decision to get your heart checked as well as an underlying culprit.