Your basic hearing system is made up of three main parts – your outer ear, your middle ear, and your inner ear. Of these three parts, your inner ear, or your cochlea, is the most complicated, since this is where physical movement from sound gets translated into signals that can travel along your hearing nerve to your brain. Because the cochlea is so small, in order for it to do its job properly, it relies on good blood flow through very small blood vessels. If anything prevents good blood flow, such as heart disease, permanent damage can occur, causing problems with your hearing.
Because the cochlea is extremely sensitive to reduced blood flow, heart disease is a major risk factor for permanent hearing loss. Interestingly, research also shows that certain patterns of hearing loss can be used as a predictor for future heart issues. Since the cochlea relies on blood flow from such small blood vessels, it may show signs of damage before other common predictors that are not obvious until the heart issues are more advanced. One thing is for sure, heart health and hearing health are closely related.
If you have heart issues, or a family history of heart disease, we recommend having a baseline hearing evaluation by the age of 40. For more information, or to book your assessment, feel free to contact us to set up an appointment with one of our knowledgeable audiologists.