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You already knew that your hearing loss had a major impact on your ability to communicate. Did you know that your hearing loss can also affect your heart health? Hearing health and heart health are connected. Several decades of research have found that heart disease and hearing loss are related. Researchers have not pinpointed exact mechanisms to say if hearing loss causes heart disease or vice versa. However, the two are undeniable connected. It’s important to get the word out to try and prevent these debilitating health issues.

In 2010, researchers Raymond H. Hull and Stacy R. Kerschen published their review of more than 60 years of research on the matter and found that impaired heart health has a negative impact on hearing and improved heart health has positive influence on hearing health. Researchers believe that this due to the inner ears extreme sensitivity to blood flow. Heart problems can cause a build up of plaque in arteries and restrict blood flow. This also causes irreversible damage to the delicate structures of the ear.

A University of Wisconsin, found that older adults are 54 percent more likely to suffer from varying degrees of hearing loss if they have a history of heart disease. Another study found that low-frequency hearing loss is a marker for predicting the development of cardiovascular health issues.

It’s not just about your hearing

Experts like Charles E. Bishop, AuD, Assistant Professor in the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s Department of Otolaryngology and Communicative Sciences can’t stress enough how important it is to consider your hearing when it comes to your overall health.

“Hearing health should not be assessed in a vacuum,” says Bishop. “There is simply too much evidence that hearing loss is related to cardiovascular disease and other health conditions. It’s time we maximized the information we have in order to benefit the individual’s overall wellbeing.”

The best thing you can do for yourself is have your hearing tested and visit your doctor for a yearly physical to ensure that these troubles are not creeping into your life. To reduce your risk of heart disease the CDC recommends the following: get exercise, eat well, quit smoking, and reduce stress.