The heart is used to represent love due to its important role in supporting every aspect of our health from our brain, muscles, organs, and every single cell. Our heart supplies blood throughout our body and it is perhaps it’s essential vulnerability within our body when something goes wrong which is equated with love. Love is an emotion which often causes us to put down our emotional guard to be open and reliant on another.
The vulnerability of the heart means that keeping up with cardiovascular health is essential to longer life expectancy. Cardiovascular disease is the most common killer in the Untitled States. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reports that cardiovascular disease contributes to the death of an individual every 36 seconds. As recent as 2019, an estimated 659,000 people in the US died due to heart disease—a staggering 1 in every 4 deaths! Focusing on heart health equals your overall health and on top of this, it includes your hearing health. While this may feel like the least of your worries around the dangers of heart disease, it’s more important than you may suspect.
Hearing Loss and Heart Disease
Understanding how our heart health affects hearing requires us to have a firm grasp on how our hearing works. We collect sound with our ears, but the job of our ears is not completed until sound reaches our brain. In the auditory cortex is where sound is processed and speech comprehended. It achieves this through the precarious process of vibrations sent via the eardrum, the tiniest bones in our body called ossicles and the amazing cochlea – a snail shaped organ filled with fluid, which is incredibly small, approximately 9 mm (0.35 inch) in diameter at its base and 5 mm in height to be exact. Within the cochlea are fluid and tiny hair-like cells called stereocilia. When vibrations enter the cochlea, they vibration the fluid within which stimulates the stereocilia. These cells in turn convert the liquid vibrations into electrical impulses which can be interpreted by the brain. This is to say that the cell health of the stereocilia is essential to healthy hearing. When these cells don’t receive an ample amount of oxygenated blood due to heart issues, it can damage or destroy them, causing irreparable hearing damage. In this way a healthy heart can increase your chances of healthy hearing
The Risks of Hearing Loss
While hearing loss is very treatable, most commonly with hearing aids, if ignored the risks are very serious. What starts with issue hearing in daily communication can build up into rifts in relationships at home, work and just about everywhere out in the world. The strain on not hearing is not only hard on our social life, but on our mind. Breaks in communication can cause our brain to work overtime to fill in the blanks. This can leave us not only feeling drained after social interaction but cause us to score lower on cognitive testing, even when the hearing is mild! Untreated hearing loss can increase the risk of dementia exponentially as well as double our risk of falls and accidents!
Understanding Cardiovascular Disease
Cardiovascular disease includes any illness associated with the heart or blood vessels, often caused by a build-up of fatty deposits within the arteries. This can increase the risk of devastating health events such as heart attack, stroke, and blood clots. Understanding the risk is essential to prevention. If you have any of the following you may be at risk for cardiovascular disease:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Family history of cardiovascular disease
Managing Hearing Loss and Heart Disease
It’s important to monitor for risks of heart disease annually, especially if you have any of the following risks. Follow your doctors’ instructions, including keeping up with your prescriptions as well as a healthy diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean proteins, while avoiding processed sugars and foods. In addition, regular exercise for at least 30 minutes three times a week can keep your blood flowing at a health rate. If your doctor does report a risk for heart disease, it’s important to also keep in mind the risk to your hearing. Schedule a hearing exam today and stay ahead of it to keep you healthy, happy and active for years to come.