World Heart Day: The Heart-Hearing Connection
In honor of World Heart Day, September 29: There’s a fascinating connection between heart health and hearing health. A growing body of research has investigated the specifics of this relationship: poor cardiovascular fitness, hypertension, poor diet, sedentary lifestyles, and high-risk behaviors. All appear to be co-factors with hearing loss.
It would be nice if lifestyle changes that improve heart health could restore hearing. Unfortunately, this is not an option. Most hearing loss occurs as a result of the degradation of hair cells in the cochlea (the hearing organ). Once damaged, cochlear hair cells cannot be repaired.
The relationship between heart and hearing is related to the flow of oxygen rich blood. The inner ear is home to the smallest bones of the body. And the hearing system is among the body’s most intricate. As such, it may be more sensitive to blood flow than other areas of the body.
When it comes to hearing—perhaps more than it does with your heart health—an ounce of prevention is worth a pint of cure. Maintaining the flow of oxygen rich blood is good for your heart and good for your hearing.