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Heart Health

The ear may be the window to the heart

Studies show that a healthy cardiovascular system – a person’s heart, arteries and veins – has a positive effect on hearing.

Conversely, inadequate blood flow and trauma to the blood vessels of the inner ear can contribute to hearing loss. Evidence showing a link between cardiovascular and hearing health so compelling that they say – The ear may be the window to the heart.

David R. Friedland, MD, PhD, Professor and Vice-Chair of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee stated the following:

“The inner ear is so sensitive to blood flow that it is possible that abnormalities in the cardiovascular system could be noted here earlier than in other less sensitive parts of the body.”

Professor Friedland’s findings only became more relevant over time. The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), researched the relationship between hearing and heart health in 2016 and found that the audiogram pattern correlates strongly with certain heart diseases and recommended a screening test for those at risk.

They concluded that patients with low-frequency hearing loss could be at higher risk for cardiovascular events, and recommended referrals for hearing tests from GP’s where appropriate.

So, what does all of this mean for you?

We have all heard about the importance of maintaining a healthy heart, but this becomes even more vital when you learn how closely your major organs are linked to your senses.

Tips to maintain a healthy heart:

  • Eat a diet low in saturated fat – many studies around the world have demonstrated that a diet high in saturated fat can contribute not only to heart diseases but also hearing deterioration.
  • Exercise regularly – being active helps to reduce your risk of heart disease and is also a great mood booster
  • Quit smoking – smoking is one of the main causes of coronary heart disease and harms every organ in the body.
  • Eat fish – oily fish high in omega-3’s such as salmon can help to protect you against heart disease.
  • Keep your diabetes / blood pressure and/or cholesterol under control under the guidance of your GP.

As well as following these simple tips for a healthy heart, we recommend you speak to your GP about a referral for a hearing test. This will ensure you are taking every precaution to protect your hearing, and your heart.

References:

Susmano A, Rosenbush SW. Hearing loss and ischemic heart disease. Am J Otol 1988;9(5):403-408. http://journals.lww.com/otologyneurotology/Abstract/1988/09000/Hearing_Loss_and_Ischemic_Heart_Disease.10.aspx
George A. Gates, MD
Janet L. Cobb, MPHRalph B. D’Agostino, PhD; et al. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1993;119(2):156-161. doi:10.1001/archotol.1993.01880140038006

S. Rosen, P. Olin & Helen V. Rosen (1970) Dietary Prevention of Hearing Loss, Acta Oto-Laryngologica,70:4, 242-247, DOI: 10.3109/00016487009181884

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/smoking-and-your-heart

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