Heart disease is the leading cause of death for Americans. In fact, one person dies from cardiovascular disease every 36 seconds in the U.S. If these facts surprise you, it may also surprise you to learn that there are other consequences of heart disease: hearing loss.
How Does Heart Disease Lead to Hearing Loss?
Heart disease is linked to blood vessel damage caused by high blood pressure and narrow arteries caused by high cholesterol. These problems lead to blockages, spasms and ruptures of major and minor blood vessels, causing chest pain, heart attack, stroke and, interestingly, even hearing loss.
Your hearing system relies on good blood flow. Studies show that having good circulation plays a role in healthy hearing. On the flip side, poor blood flow caused by trauma to the blood vessels can contribute to hearing loss.
This is because within the cochlea are tiny hair cells called stereocilia. As soundwaves pass through the inner ear, these cells convert them into vibrations that travel via the auditory nerve to the brain to be interpreted as sound.
When blood circulation is poor, the cells are deprived of oxygen, causing them to die. Once dead or damaged, they do not regenerate. The result is irreversible hearing loss.
The Importance of Exercise
In order to preserve your heart and hearing health, you need to exercise.
One study by Miami University found a positive relationship between hearing ability and cardio exercise. Researchers evaluated the hearing of 102 non-smokers between the ages of 22 and 78 after riding a stationary bicycle. They concluded that those with higher cardiovascular fitness had better hearing, especially those over the age of 50.
Another larger study was conducted by researchers at the Department of Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management at the University of Mississippi, Oxford. Researchers examined data from the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which involved 1,070 participants over the age of 30. The analysis showed that those who were less physically active displayed high triglyceride levels, which is associated with hearing loss.
For more information about the connection between cardiovascular disease and hearing loss, call the experts at San Diego Hearing Center today.