As the relationship between hearing loss and overall health continues to be explored through research and medical advancement, it is important for both practitioners and patients to maintain a “big picture” view rather than get caught up in details. Caregivers in particular must remember that a healthy lifestyle is what we’re trying to achieve — not a single problem labeled as “hearing loss.”

This point was strongly illustrated by Harvard University’s recent study about a strong link between heart disease and hearing loss. This information offers a reminder that our bodies are an interconnected series of processes, and when one of these processes does not operate at full capacity, we are affected in ways we might never have imagined.

The Harvard study found that individuals with cardiovascular disease are 54 percent more likely to suffer from hearing loss. Of the individuals in the study who have had at least one heart attack, 80 percent were found to have damage to their inner ear.

Because heart disease can reduce the flow of blood through the body, and because the cells of the inner ear are among the most fragile in the body, it’s possible that the cochlea — the part of the inner ear responsible for transmitting hearing signals to the brain — could be among the first organs affected by heart disease.

With this in mind, a lifestyle that reduces the risk of heart disease can be beneficial to your hearing. Getting blood pressure checks on a regular basis, decreasing salt intake, exercising regularly, and getting proper rest are all manageable aspects of heart disease.

If you know someone affected by cardiovascular disease, or who is at risk of cardiovascular disease, we’d like to extend an invitation to our office for a complimentary hearing consultation. The best method of treatment for all disease is prevention, and heart disease and hearing loss are no exception. Our hearing care professionals, in conjunction with your general practitioner, can help recommend a course of action that fits your lifestyle best — and together we can help to formulate a healthier lifestyle for our local community. Please contact us today to make your appointment. We hope to see you soon!