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World Heart Day: Care for Your Heart, Care for Your Hearing

World Heart Day: Care for Your Heart, Care for Your Hearing

Evidence showing a link between hearing loss and cardiovascular disease is strong. So, for World Heart Day—September 29—the Better Hearing Institute (BHI) is encouraging people to take its free, confidential online hearing check at BetterHearing.org to determine if they need a comprehensive hearing test by a hearing healthcare professional. The BHI Hearing Check prompts people through a series of questions in just a few quick minutes.

BHI also is offering a free flipbook with facts and tips on how to talk to your doctor about hearing loss.

Why you should act now

Yet another study recently came out linking cardiovascular disease and hearing loss—this time looking at middle-aged people in Australia (45 to 69 years).

The study concluded that established cardiovascular disease and individual and combined cardiovascular risk factors were associated with hearing loss.

This Australian study echoes the findings of decades of past research pointing to the same link.

In fact, one analysis looked at 84 years of work from scientists worldwide on the link between cardiovascular health and the ability to hear and understand what others are saying. The researchers reviewed 70 scientific studies, confirming a direct link between hearing loss and cardiovascular disease.

In a separate study, published in 2009, researchers went as far to conclude that patients with low-frequency hearing loss should be regarded as at risk for cardiovascular events, and appropriate referrals should be considered.

Five more things in common

Just scratch the surface, and you’ll see that there is more overlap between heart and hearing health. Here are just a few similarities:

  1. Exercise is a win-win for both. We know that exercise is good for cardiovascular health. But it appears to benefit hearing health as well. In fact, one study found that a higher level of physical activity is associated with a lower risk of hearing loss in women.
  2. Omega-3 fatty acids are a friend to both your heart and hearing. It’s been well-established that omega-3 fatty acids do good things for your heart. But research also shows that regular fish consumption and higher intake of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are associated with a lower risk of hearing loss in women.
  3. Obesity appears to be a risk factor for both heart disease and hearing loss. Several studies suggest a tie between obesity and hearing loss. One that showed a link looked at women 18 to 40 years old. Another looked at women as well and uncovered a connection between higher BMI and a larger waist circumference, and hearing loss.
  4. Depression is linked to both heart disease and hearing loss. Heart disease puts people at a higher risk of depression, research suggests. But people with unaddressed hearing loss also are at a higher risk of depression, studies show. The good news is that BHI research indicates that people with hearing loss who use hearing aids are more likely to be optimistic and feel engaged in life. And they’re less likely to feel down, depressed, or hopeless than even people who report no hearing difficulty. Those with hearing difficulty who did not use hearing aids were the most likely to say they experienced these negative feelings.
  5. Smoking hurts your heart and your hearing. The Surgeon General’s Warning has long-stated that smoking causes heart disease. Research now shows that it may be harmful to your hearing as well. In fact, both smokers and passive smokers are more likely to suffer hearing loss.

To learn how today's high-tech hearing aid technologies can help you in everyday situations, visit http://ow.ly/FEqO308fbh7.