A Link between Hearing Loss & Cardiovascular Disease

Jeff Baller, Au.D., CCC-A Hearing Health, Hearing Loss, Lifestyle & Leisure

Jeff Baller, Au.D., CCC-A
Latest posts by Jeff Baller, Au.D., CCC-A (see all)

The cardiovascular system is a remarkable network connecting all the organs of the body with the resources they need. Your littlest toe could not do its work of helping you maintain balance without the services provided by the cardiovascular system, nor could your brain work at all. 

For this reason, this essential web of nutrient delivery has been the subject of countless studies. Our medical professionals are eager to keep the heart, lungs, and blood vessels working in concert to enable the symphony of life in the human body. When any one of these aspects struggles, we can look at the possibility of cardiovascular disease down the road. 

In order to understand some of the other effects on the body, let’s take a moment to understand the different forms of cardiovascular disease. The other effects on the body are as wide-reaching as the need for oxygen and nutrients at the cellular level, and the process of hearing is not excluded from this interconnected web of shared support within the remarkable human organism. 

What is cardiovascular disease?

You are likely familiar with some of the individual conditions rolled into the more general category of cardiovascular disease. Any affliction of the heart or blood vessels will be considered a problem of the cardiovascular system, but we can also look at the lungs as the first point of delivery for oxygen necessary for life. 

Once the blood has become oxygenated and nourished, the heart muscle pushes that blood throughout the body to take those resources to the parts that need it. The depleted blood comes back to the heart, and the process starts all over again. With a constant flow through the day and night of each day of life, it is truly remarkable that the human machine continues to function so well for more than a hundred years for many people! 

Cardiovascular disease refers to any of the afflictions facing this system, including heart disease, a heart attack, heart failure, heart valve problems, or arrhythmia, which is an abnormal heart rhythm. Stroke is also associated, whereby the blood vessels are not delivering oxygen to the organ that is debatably the most important in the body: the brain. 

How is cardiovascular disease related to hearing loss?

When we consider the delicate network provided by the cardiovascular system, it will not come as a surprise that all the parts of the body are fed by its pumping power, and the ears are no exception. The cells of the ears require oxygen and nutrients to continue to do their work of capturing sound waves and ushering them toward the brain for processing. 

Of particular importance are the tiny hairlike cells in the inner ear called stereocilia. These fragile organs respond to differences in pressure and translate that data collection into electrical impulses that the brain can receive and understand. Without the oxygen delivered by the cardiovascular system, these cells can suffer damage, bending, and breaking. 

This relationship means that medical professionals can use hearing ability as a possible warning sign of cardiovascular disease, as well. Since we know that the stereocilia are very sensitive, they are one of the first parts of the body to suffer from a lack of oxygen. 

Research has borne out that hearing loss is highly correlated with cardiovascular disease, so medical professionals can reverse the causal direction as a way to alert themselves to the possibility of problems in the heart and blood vessels. 

Although hearing loss does not cause cardiovascular disease, it is an important tool in the kit of medical professionals to warn of potential cardiovascular disease down the road.

Get Your Hearing Tested

If you have already experienced hearing loss, it is crucial to get a hearing test right away. Not only can you use the information gathered in your hearing test as a way to seek treatment for hearing loss, but you can also pass along that information to your primary care physician. 

With the news that you have hearing loss, your entire healthcare team can get to work identifying other related problems that might be signaled. Considered in this way, hearing loss can be an important indicator of potentially life-threatening cardiovascular conditions. 

If you are ready to have your hearing tested, contact us today! We provide comprehensive hearing health services and are here to help.