By Dr. Shannon Aiello, Au.D.

If you are missing the sweet nothings your loved one is whispering this Valentine’s Day, it may be time to check your hearing, for many reason. Many people attribute hearing loss to aging, however mounting research is showing strong correlation between hearing loss and other associated medical conditions. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, this month we will focus on hearing loss and heart health.

The connection between heart and hearing health

What connection does your heart have to your ears? Your fun fact for the days is that the ears are very vascular, meaning they need a lot of blood flow for healthy performance and function. Many studies have shown that good circulation plays a role in maintaining good hearing health. We are also finding that things that impact blood flow such as strokes and other cardiovascular pathology can directly affect hearing. Furthermore, vascular hearing loss even causes very distinct patterns in hearing loss, with marked decline in the low frequencies, which is typically the opposite configuration for the vast majority of hearing loss.

The link between the ears and the heart is so correlated, that experts in the field such as Dr. Charles Bishop an Assistant Professor at University of Mississippi Medical Center says that “the ear may be a window to the heart.”

Because of this correlation, it is important for anyone that has existing heart conditions such as heart disease, stroke, or any other cardiovascular disease to receive annual audiological evaluations to monitor the ear.

“Hearing health should not be assessed in a vacuum,” said Bishop. “There is simply too much evidence that hearing loss is related to cardiovascular disease and other health conditions. It’s time we maximized the information we have in order to benefit the individual’s overall well-being.”

To start hearing those sweet nothings in addition to being proactive with your heart health, call for your baseline evaluation. All new patients in February will receive a special Valentines gift from the Doctors and Hearing Health Team at Columbia Basin Hearing Center.