Heart disease is responsible for 655,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, making it the leading cause of loss among both men and woman. Even with such a high prevalence, many don’t understand the true threat of the disease or how closely connected it is with other health conditions, especially hearing loss.
Understanding Heart Disease
Heart disease occurs when your blood vessels narrow or become blocked. Left untreated, it can cause a heart attack, stroke or chest pain. Symptoms of heart disease include:
- Chest pain/tightness
- Shortness of breath
- Pain or numbing in the legs and arms
- Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, back or upper abdomen
High blood pressure and high cholesterol are common causes of heart disease. In addition, there are a number of environmental and lifestyle choice that can contribute to developing this disease, including:
- Unhealthy diet
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Physical inactivity
Hearing Loss Caused by Poor Blood Flow
Heart disease can lead to poor blood circulation. This can harm the delicate hair cells within your inner ear, which are responsible for converting soundwaves into electrical impulses that are then passed through the auditory nerve to the brain to be interpreted as sound. When these hairs do not get enough oxygen from the blood, they can become damaged or die. This leads to permanent sensorineural hearing loss.
Hearing Loss Caused by Stroke
A stroke occurs when not enough blood can reach the brain, depriving the brain of oxygen. This can cause lasting brain damage.
If damage occurs in the auditory cortex, it can lead to hearing loss, vestibular changes and dizziness. Damage to the temporal lobe can change your hearing, specifically making it harder to recognize spoken words or making you perceive normal sounds as strange.
Some researchers believe that mild hearing loss may be an indicator of the potential to develop heart disease down the road. While this has not yet been proven, it is better to err on the side of caution and seek help at your first sign of hearing loss.
To learn more about identifying hearing loss early or to schedule an appointment with a hearing professional, contact Heuser Hearing Institute today.