Thirty or Older?

The link between cardiovascular and hearing health could pertain to you
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In recognition of American Heart Month and National Wear Red Day, the Better Hearing Institute (BHI) is alerting Gen Xers and baby boomers of the connection between cardiovascular and hearing health. A growing body of research indicates that a person's hearing and cardiovascular health frequently correspond. In response, BHI is urging people with cardiovascular disease to get their hearing checked. Likewise, BHI is urging people with hearing loss to pay close attention to their cardiovascular health.

To help people determine if they need a comprehensive hearing test by a hearing healthcare professional, BHI is offering a free, quick, and confidential online hearing check at hearingcheck.org.

In 2003, the American Heart Association (AHA) and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) took action against a disease that was claiming the lives of nearly 500,000 American women each year—a disease that women weren't paying attention to. A disease they truly believed, and many still believe to this day, affects more men than women.

Stemming from that action, National Wear Red Day was born. It's held on the first Friday in February every year to raise awareness about heart disease being the No. 1 killer of women. This year is the 10th Annual National Wear Red Day, which falls on February 1st.

Now, the NHLBI's The Heart Truth campaign and the AHA's Go Red For Women movement kick off American Heart Month each year by celebrating National Wear Red Day.

The Heart-Hearing Connection
The inner ear is extremely sensitive to blood flow. Studies have shown that a healthy cardiovascular system—a person's heart, arteries, and veins—has a positive effect on hearing. Conversely, inadequate blood flow and trauma to the blood vessels of the inner ear can contribute to hearing loss.

The authors of a study published in the American Journal of Audiology concluded that the negative influence of impaired cardiovascular health on both the peripheral and central auditory system—and the potential positive influence of improved cardiovascular health on these same systems—have been found through a sizable body of research that has been conducted over more than six decades.  

David R. Friedland , MD, PhD, Professor and Vice-Chair of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, has been studying the relationship between cardiovascular and hearing health for years. According to Friedland: "The inner ear is so sensitive to blood flow that it is possible that any abnormalities in the cardiovascular system could be noted here earlier than in other less sensitive parts of the body."

In their study, published in The Laryngoscope, Dr. Friedland and fellow researchers found that audiogram pattern correlates strongly with cerebrovascular and peripheral arterial disease and may represent a screening test for those at risk. They even concluded that patients with low-frequency hearing loss should be regarded as at risk for cardiovascular events, and appropriate referrals should be considered.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. For more information about cardiovascular health and how people can reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke, visit heart.org, GoRedForWomen.org, and hearttruth.gov.