A review of research studying the correlation between hearing and heart health has found that negative cardiovascular health can impair both the peripheral and central auditory system, the system responsible for transforming sound waves into brain activity. Improved cardiovascular health has similarly been shown to positively influence those same systems.
Reduced blood flow to the brain and other parts of the body from coronary artery disease is one possible culprit for poor cardiovascular health’s impact on hearing. Poor blood flow to the ears can result in damage to the small hair cells in the cochlea, the cells responsible for transmitting sound to the brain.
The average person has approximately 16,000 hair cells in their cochlea at birth. As they get older, these hair cells can be damaged by any number of causes, such as:
- Loud noise exposure
- Ototoxic medication
- Physical trauma
- Reduced blood flow
Inner ear hair cells cannot grow back once they have been damaged. Because damage is permanent, caring for your cardiovascular health is essential to reduce the risk of active cell loss. Let’s look at a couple of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tips for better cardiovascular health.
Eat a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease and its comorbidities. Eat a diet high in fiber, vitamins and minerals and low in saturated and trans fats, sodium, cholesterol and sugar. Try picking up some local produce and herbal teas at the Santa Fe Farmers Market to start your week off right.
Exercise can help you feel more energized, lower your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels and reduce your risk of heart disease. The CDC recommends that adults engage in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and two days of muscle-strengthening activity each week. Try adding a daily yoga class or a run around your favorite park to meet your exercise goals.
Smoking cigarettes puts you at risk for cancer, stroke, lung disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and more. If you smoke, consider quitting entirely to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease and other health concerns. Quitting smoking can be stressful and difficult, so don’t be afraid to lean on your friends and family for support.
These three tips can help lower your risk of cardiovascular disease-induced hearing loss. For more information on protecting your hearing, or to schedule a hearing test, contact Southwestern Hearing & Balance today.