Hearing Loss & Heart Disease

Understand the interconnectedness of heart health and hearing to proactively address potential risks and enhance overall quality of life.

Warning Signs, The Heart of the Matter

During life’s journey, we expend considerable thought about how to reduce risks. From daily driving and pharma ad disclaimers or avoiding falls to home insurance, safety profiles are worthy to consider.

Importantly, staying out of harm’s way relates to not just driving, but medical issues as well. Did You Know, according to the Center for Disease Control, in the U.S.?

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most ethnic groups
  • About 697,000 people died from heart disease in 2020 – that’s 1 in every 5 deaths
  • One person dies every 34 seconds from cardiovascular disease 1

Symptoms may include:

  • Chest pain, tightness, pressure or discomfort (angina)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in your back, upper belly, neck or throat
  • Numbness, weakness or coldness in legs or arms
  • Lightheadedness or fainting

In the context of hereditary factors and understanding research-based ways to reduce risks, it is crucial to recognize what warning sign may preclude life-changing consequences. For example, strokes or “brain attacks” and heart attacks share common risk factors such as blood vessel blockage. In fact, the inner ear and cardiovascular system are each sensitive to blood flow and oxygen levels. Perhaps, beyond those age-related, this relates to common risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes and smoking.

While studies show good blood flow circulation is necessary for healthy hearing, the lack of it can damage delicate hair cells in our cochlea, which translates noises in our ear into electrical impulses our brain can recognize as everyday sounds. Evidently, healthy blood flow can positively influence hearing, while certain types of hearing loss may forewarn cardiovascular issues.

As peer-reviewed research states:

“A strong relationship was found between low -frequency hearing thresholds and cardiovascular events. In both men and women, there was a statistically significant correlation between low-frequency hearing loss and coronary heart disease and stroke.” 2

“Namely, we propose that low-frequency hearing loss is a marker for cardiovascular disease rather than the other way around. Low-frequency hearing loss would thus represent a potential predictor of impending cardiovascular events or underlying disease. We suggest that clinicians may use the audiogram as a sensitive and reproducible screen for cardiovascular compromise.” 3

1 https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm

2 Nash SD, Cruickshanks KJ, Klein R, Klein BE, Nieto FJ, Huang GH, Pankow JS, Tweed TS. The prevalence of hearing impairment and associated risk factors: the Beaver Dam Offspring Study. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2011 May;137(5):432-9. doi: 10.1001/archoto.2011.15. Epub 2011 Feb 21. PMID: 21339392; PMCID: PMC3096733.

3 Wattamwar K, Qian ZJ, Otter J, Leskowitz MJ, Caruana FF, Siedlecki B, Spitzer JB, Lalwani AK. Association of Cardiovascular Comorbidities With Hearing Loss in the Older Old. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2018 Jul 1;144(7):623-629. doi: 10.1001/jamaoto.2018.0643. PMID: 29902313; PMCID: PMC6145783.

Do you have heart disease or a family history which increases your risk of heart disease-related hearing loss? If so, we suggest periodic evaluations to accurately assess your type and degree of hearing loss. In close coordination with your other healthcare providers, we will suggest healthy options to improve your quality of life and awareness of hearing-related cardiovascular risk factors.

For the benefit of you and your family, please accept our heartfelt invitation to visit us soon.

Contact us

At Family Audiology and Hearing Centers, we strive to be there for all your family’s hearing needs. Because of this, we have 14 convenient locations in the Ohio area for you to visit. See which location is best for you and schedule an appointment today.