Highlighting the connection between Heart Disease and Hearing Loss

An excerpt from The Better Hearing Institute (BHI)

January 18, 2011 — According to the AHA, heart disease is our nation’s No. 1 killer. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about every 25 seconds an American will have a coronary event. About one every minute will die from one. But there is good news: There are things people can do to protect the health of their heart and reduce their risk of heart disease progression.

Coronary artery disease, usually referred to as simply “heart disease,” is the most common form of cardiovascular disease. It is a disorder of the blood vessels of the heart that can lead to a heart attack. A heart attack happens when an artery becomes blocked, preventing oxygen and nutrients from getting to the heart. (Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, The Heart Truth™ National Awareness Campaign for Women about Heart Disease).

Overall blood flow affects the vascular pattern of the cochlea. Studies show that a healthy cardiovascular system—a person’s heart, arteries, and veins—have a positive effect on hearing. Conversely, trauma to the blood vessels of the cochlea can cause damage, negatively affecting a person’s capacity to hear.

In a study published in the June 2010 issue of the American Journal of Audiology, Raymond H. Hull and Stacy R. Kerschen did a comprehensive review of research that has been conducted over the past 60 plus years and found that 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 has been found through a sizable body of research.

BHI sees our participation in American Heart Month and National Wear Read Day® as an important contribution we can make to saving millions of lives in our country. Not only is it a way to raise awareness of the life-saving importance of protecting your heart—but it’s an opportunity to highlight the connection that heart health has on hearing health. Our efforts also will help inform people with heart disease that their hearing may be at risk and that it is important for them to include hearing checks as part of their routine medical exams.