WASHINGTON, Sept. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Gen Xers and baby boomers
should no longer ignore their hearing loss, says the Better Hearing Institute
(BHI), which is raising awareness of the link between cardiovascular and hearing
health in recognition of World Heart Day on September 29th. A growing body of
research shows that a person's hearing health and cardiovascular health
frequently correspond. And because the jury is still out on exactly why there is
a connection and which comes first, it behooves those 40 and older to get their
hearing tested as a routine part of their medical care. The vast majority of
people with hearing loss can benefit from hearing aids, which have been shown to
improve quality of life.
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 www.hearingcheck.org.
Some experts--like Charles E. Bishop, AuD, Assistant Professor in the University
of Mississippi Medical Center's Department of Otolaryngology and Communicative
Sciences--find the evidence showing a link between cardiovascular and hearing
health so compelling that they say the ear may be a window to the heart. Bishop
believes the closer the collaboration between medical disciplines the better for
"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."
Why the Heart-Hearing Connection?
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
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. He offers up this response:
"The inner ear is so sensitive to blood flow that it is possible that
abnormalities in the cardiovascular system could be noted here earlier than in
other less sensitive parts of the body."
In one 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.
Other evidence exists. In fact, 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 conducted over more
than six decades.
Cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease and stroke, cause 17.3 million
deaths each year. For more information about World Heart Day, cardiovascular
health, and how people can reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke, visit
About Hearing Aids
Research shows that hearing loss is frequently associated with other physical,
mental, and emotional health conditions, and that people who address their
hearing loss often experience better quality of life. Eight out of 10 hearing
aid users, in fact, say they're satisfied with the changes that have occurred in
their lives specifically due to their hearing aids--from how they feel about
themselves to the positive changes they see in their relationships, social
interactions, and work lives.
When people with even mild hearing loss use hearing aids, they often improve
their job performance; enhance their communication skills; increase their
earnings potential; improve their professional and interpersonal relationships;
stave off depression; gain an enhanced sense of control over their lives; and
better their quality of life.
Here are five little-known facts about today's hearing aids:
1. They're virtually invisible. Many of today's hearing aids sit discreetly
and comfortably inside the ear canal, providing both natural sound quality,
and discreet and easy use.
2. They automatically adjust to all kinds of soundscapes. Recent technological
advances with directional microphones have made hearing aids far more
versatile than ever before--and in a broad range of sound environments.
3. You can enjoy water sports and sweat while wearing them. Waterproof digital
hearing aids have arrived. This feature is built into some newly designed
hearing aids for those concerned about water, humidity, and dust. This
feature suits the active lifestyles of swimmers, skiers, snowboarders,
intensive sports enthusiasts and anyone working in dusty, demanding
4. They work with smartphones, home entertainment systems and other
electronics. Wireless, digital hearing aids are now the norm. That means
seamless connectivity--directly into your hearing aid(s) at volumes that
are just right for you--from your smartphone, MP3 player, television and
other high-tech gadgets.
5. They're always at the ready. A new rechargeable feature on some newly
designed hearing aids allows you to recharge your hearing aids every night,
so they're ready in the morning. It's super convenient --and there's no
more fumbling with small batteries.
For more information on hearing loss, visit www.BetterHearing.org.
SOURCE Better Hearing Institute