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Heart Disease & Hearing

What does heart disease have to do with hearing loss?  It’s all about blood flow.  Studies have shown that good circulation plays a role in maintaining good hearing health.  Conversely, inadequate blood flow and trauma to the blood vessels in the inner ear can contribute to hearing loss. 

That’s because the delicate hair cells in the cochlea, which play an important role in translating the noise your ears collect into electrical impulses for the brain to interpret as recognizable sound, rely on good circulation.  Poor circulation robs these hair cells of adequate oxygen, causing damage or destruction.  Because these hair cells do not regenerate, it results in permanent hearing loss.

Strokes can also be the cause of permanent hearing loss.  If a stroke occurs in the areas of the brain responsible for hearing and balance, the stroke may cause hearing impairment, dizziness and other vestibular/balance changes.  Besides a permanent hearing loss, a person who has had a stroke can also have difficulty recognizing spoken words or sounds, a perception that normal sounds are unusual or strange.  Sometimes, although rarely, a person also may have “auditory hallucinations” in which they hear things that don’t exist.

Hearing can just slip away without you hardly noticing or noticing at all.  It’s important to have your hearing tested after the age of 55, so that a baseline can be established.  The National Council on Aging reminds us that people who seek treatment for their hearing loss and wear hearing aids have improved overall health and pain reduction.  Central Florida Speech and Hearing Center has been in our community for 60 years and is available to answer your questions about hearing loss and hearing aids.  Call 863-686-3189.

*partially excerpted from “How hearing loss and heart disease are linked”, www.healthyhearing.com

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