Take Care of Your Heart…Your Ears Will Love You for It
The heart as a symbol for romantic love dates back to the middle-ages. Our hearts may have more than a symbolic role in the expression of love. After all communication is vital to conveying love, and our ears are a vital part of effective communication. Medical researchers have been looking at the biological connection between heart health and hearing for years.
What is the heart’s connection to the ear?
Deep in the inner ear sound waves are converted to chemical messengers that stimulate hearing nerves to send signals to the brain for interpretation. There are tiny hair-like cells that move in response to noises and release the chemical messengers. Damage to these stereocilia cells is a common cause of hearing loss. These microscopic hair cells are dependent on consistent blood flow to do their work, hence the heart-ear connection.
Through comparative reviews of 6 decades of research, Dr. Raymond Hull of Harvard University recognized “…the negative influence of impaired cardiovascular health on both the peripheral and central auditory system and the potential positive influence of improved cardiovascular health on these same systems….” Research suggests that the restricted blood flow associated with cardiovascular disease may first affect the hearing because the hearing nerves are especially fragile.
Additional research shows an increased incidence of hearing impairment associated with high cholesterol levels. Like high cholesterol itself, associated hearing loss is often undetected as there is no pain or obvious symptoms present. The onset is typically gradual leaving you unaware of hearing loss until communication difficulties become highly pronounced. It is a loved one that usually and hopefully lovingly points out your hearing challenges.
If you are being treated for high cholesterol or any cardiovascular issues its good to have your hearing evaluated by an Audiologist due to the increased risk of hearing loss.