A Healthy Heart Could Mean Better Hearing Health

In honor of American Heart Month in February, Hearing Health Foundation wants to shine light on the link between heart disease and hearing loss. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 610,000 Americans die from heart disease each year, making it the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S.

Heart disease is linked to or causes numerous health issues, including hearing loss. One study suggests that low-frequency hearing loss may be able to predict cardiovascular health. Using an audiogram, researchers were able to determine the probability of cardiovascular disease in men and women. The study found that there was a correlation of heart attacks in men, and a correlation of claudication (pain caused by too little blood flow) in women.
High blood pressure can also be a contributing factor to developing hearing loss, since the inner ear is sensitive to blood flow. High blood pressure damages blood vessels and increases the risk of plaque buildup in the arteries, making it harder for blood to flow throughout the body. In other words, inadequate blood flow and nerve damage in the inner ear may lead to irreversible hearing loss.
A common cause of heart disease and hearing loss is smoking. Smoking increases blood pressure and plaque buildup, and causes hardening of the arteries, all of which decreases blood flow to the organs and other parts of the body. The effects of smoking damages the cardiovascular system, boosting the risk of hearing loss. Additionally, cigarettes contains nicotine, disrupting the neurotransmitters in the auditory nerve (which tell the brain which sound you are hearing) and preventing the brain to accurately interpret sound. Cigarette smoke contains many harmful chemicals that are believed to be ototoxic (toxic to the ear) that may damage hair cells.

There are a variety of ways to prevent heart disease and cut your risk for hearing loss. Eating healthy and incorporating moderate exercise into your daily life can drastically improve your health. Include more fish in your diet: Salmon, mackerel, and herring are high in the omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce high blood pressure and prevent plaque buildup, so you can decrease your overall risk of hearing loss.

Frankie Huang

Remember a healthy heart leads to better hearing health.

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6 Facts Every Woman Should Know About Hearing Health

National Women’s Health Week may only last a week (May 10-16, 2015), but women’s health is a year-round issue. A growing body of research shows an association between hearing loss, quality of life, and a number of common chronic diseases and health conditions.

In the United States today, as many as one-third of women in their 50s have some degree of hearing loss, along with nearly two-thirds of women in their 60s. The findings of a 2008 study also suggest that the prevalence of hearing loss among younger adults, specifically among those in their 20s and 30s, is increasing. Fortunately, for the vast majority of people with hearing loss, hearing aids can help.

For many years, experts have known the positive impact that addressing hearing loss has on quality of life. Research shows that many people with hearing loss who use hearing aids see an improvement in their ability to hear in many settings; and many see an improvement in their relationships at home and at work, in their social lives, and in their ability to communicate effectively in most situations. Many even say they feel better about themselves.
In honor of National Women’s Health Week, we are sharing 6 Facts Every Woman Should Know About Hearing Health from The Better Hearing Institute:
  1. Women with hearing loss are more likely to be depressed. Research shows that hearing loss is associated with depression among U.S. adults, but particularly among women. 
  2. The ear may be a window to the heart. Cardiovascular and hearing health are linked. Some experts say 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. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, according to the American Heart Association. 
  3. If you have diabetes, you’re about twice as likely to have hearing loss. What’s more, having diabetes may cause women to experience a greater degree of hearing loss as they age, especially if the diabetes is not well controlled with medication. About 11% of women in the United States are affected by diabetes. 
  4. Many of the same lifestyle behaviors that affect the heart impact hearing. More evidence of the interconnectedness between cardiovascular and hearing health is found in three studies on modifiable behaviors: One found that a higher level of physical activity is associated with lower risk of hearing loss in women. Another revealed that smokers and passive smokers are more likely to suffer hearing loss. And a third found that regular fish consumption and higher intake of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are associated with lower risk of hearing loss in women. 
  5. Hearing loss in women is tied to common pain relieversIbuprofen and acetaminophen are associated with an increased risk of hearing loss in women. The link is even stronger among those younger than 50. 
  6. Addressing hearing loss may benefit cognitive function. Research shows a link between hearing loss and dementia, which leads experts to believe that interventions, like hearing aids, could potentially delay or prevent dementia. Research is ongoing.  
​BHI and HHF are encouraging women of all ages to take a free, quick, and confidential online hearing check at to help determine if they need a comprehensive hearing test by a hearing healthcare professional.
The content for this blog post originated in a press release issued by The Better Hearing Institute on May 8, 2015. 

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Why treat hearing loss?

Our hearing is the key to actively participating in the world around us and untreated hearing loss can have a huge impact on our lives.

When hearing loss occurs, reactions to the situation vary. Living with an unaddressed hearing loss can often lead to social isolation, we feel tired just trying to live our everyday day lives in the same way we once did when we could hear.

Sometimes a loss of hearing can affect us both mentally and physically, if we isolate ourselves it could lead us to missing out on our activities and our interactions with our friends and family, we may feel lonely and left out.

It is important to break this negative cycle and get your hearing assessed if you recognise this pattern.

The earlier you begin to address your hearing loss, the better the chance of being able to retain many of the recognised “sound pictures” that our brain learns and stores from birth that help us quickly “get the picture” of a situation.

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