It’s not a stretch to say that most people understand exercise equates to better health. But for anyone who is dealing with hearing loss, you may be surprised to learn about the link between better cardiovascular health and better hearing.
A recent study examined the relationship between hearing loss and cardiovascular health in a group of older African American adults. Using the Jackson Heart Study’s cohort of African Americans, the relationships between the LS7* scoring metric and hearing of 1314 individuals were assessed.
Results showed that higher total LS7 scores (per 1-unit increase) were associated with lower PTA4 in gamma regression analyses (RR= 0.942, 95% Cl, 0.926-0.958, P less than .001). This held true even after adjustments for age, gender, education, and history of noise exposure. Using logistic regression analyses to compare LS7 scores to presence of hearing loss, tinnitus, and vertigo; only hearing loss showed a statistically significant relationship after adjustments for age, gender, education, and history of noise exposure.
Another study, published in 2018, investigated the relationship between hearing loss and cardiovascular disease risk factors. A total of 5107 participants, born between 1946-1964 enrolled in the Busselton Healthy Aging Study. Their hearing was assessed with puretone audiometry. Cardiovascular risk factors were assessed via a patient-completed questionnaire and objective measurements including blood pressure, body mass index, waist circumference, lipid profile and glycated hemoglobin. Statistical analysis indicated that low-frequency hearing loss was a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
People with better cardiovascular health tend to have better hearing. Individuals with low frequency hearing loss, combined with a history of poor diet, low physical activity levels and smoking may be at risk for cardiovascular disease. The good news is that hearing aids now have fitness and well-being trackers built into them to encourage better hearing and overall health.
It is important to seek treatment for hearing loss as part of an overall strategy to preserve good health and a good quality of life. This includes:
Annual hearing exams by a hearing care professional.
If a hearing loss is present, be fit with hearing aids that are professionally prescribed based on the patient’s hearing loss and needs.
Staying physically active and eating a healthy diet to maintain good cardiovascular health.
*LS7 is a scoring system proposed by AHA and takes into account of 7 health aspects: smoking status, physical activity, diet, BMI, blood glucose, blood cholesterol and blood pressure. Each aspect was rated at “ideal”, “intermediate” or “poor”, corresponding to a score of 2, 1, or O respectively
Curti, S. A., DeGruy, J. A., Spankovich, C., Bishop, C. E., Su, D., Valle, K., O’Brien, E., Min, Y. I., & Schweinfurth, J. M. (2020). Relationship of Overall Cardiovascular Health and Hearing Loss in The Jackson Heart Study Population. The Laryngoscope, 130(12), 2879-2884.
Tan, H. E., Lan, N., Knuiman, M. W., Divitini, M. L., Swanepoel, D. W., Hunter, M., Brennan-Jones, C. G., Hung, J., Eikelboom, R.H., & Santa Maria, P. L. (2018). Associations between cardiovascular disease and its risk factors with hearing loss-A cross-sectional analysis. Clinical otolaryngology: official journal of ENT-UK; official journal of Netherlands Society for Oto-Rhino-Laryngology & Cervico-Facial Surgery, 43(1), 172-181