Many things come to mind when you think of your heart: emotions, desires and dreams, the soul.You may also think of the physical organ that pumps blood through your body and sustains your life.
Heart health is an important part of overall health. The Center of Disease Control (CDC) reported that 600,000 people die from heart disease yearly in the U.S. The leading cause of death for both men and women, heart disease is a major health concern, and coronary heart disease is the most common type.
The media tells us these facts regularly, but did you know that hearing health is related to heart health? It then follows that protecting heart health also serves to protect hearing health!
Heart and Hearing Health
Everyone knows that smoking is bad for health. The chemicals in cigarette smoke damage blood cells and every organ in the body. One in five deaths results from in some way from smoking in the US. Smoking also causes plaque to develop in arteries. The arteries then harden and the blood pathways become narrow, causing stress to the heart.
Hearing is also affected by the chemicals present in cigarettes. The auditory nerve’s neurotransmitters can become blocked, which confuses your brain when it hears sound. As a result vertigo, tinnitus and dizziness may occur.
High blood pressure of 140/90 or higher can stretch your arteries, resulting in vascular weakness and scarring. Plaque and blood clots that clogs arteries may follow.
Constant blood flow is vital to the inner ear hair cells that help our brains to translate sounds into meaning. Blood pressure medications may also cause hearing damage. Some people develop ringing in the ears (tinnitus) from these medications.
Millions of Americans are affected by high blood sugar, and adult onset (type 2) diabetes is the most common. Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) can burden the heart and other organs by affecting blood flow.
Diabetes can also restrict the blood flow to the inner ear as a result of this decreased blood flow. The delicate hair cells of the inner ear can then die, and they can’t grow back. This makes hearing damage irreversible. Studies have shown that people with diabetes are twice as likely to suffer from hearing damage as those without it.
Modern Americans live sedentary lifestyles: many people sit in front of a computer at work during the day and then go home and sit in front of the TV before bedtime.
Exercise and eating real, unprocessed foods is the ideal method for heart disease prevention, as well as to prevent obesity.
If changing your diet and routine seems overwhelming, consider that even small tweaks can bring results. Swapping out your morning pastry for a protein-rich option like eggs, and your afternoon chicps for an apple, peanuts or a piece of cheese can cut down on carbs and keep your blood sugar levels in check. Take a walk around the block on your lunch break. Not only will you get some movement into your day, you’ll benefit from a change of scenery and fresh air.
A majority of Americans are overweight. Obesity can stress your heart and increas the risk of heart disease, which in turn will increases the likelihood of heart failure in the future. Obesity are also often correlated with diabetes and high blood pressure, which bring more risk.
If you drink one serving of alcohol with dinner, studies have shown that to be beneficial, alcohol consumption in excess can increase the risk of high blood pressure and can weaken your heart.
Drinking heavily produces free radicals that also affect the inner ear. Balance issues like vertigo, tinnitus and noise-induced hearing damage may result.
Remember these tips to protect your heart and your hearing:
- Cut out processed foods and buy only fresh meats, fruits and vegetables
- Get some exercise every day
- Don’t smoke (or quit smoking)
- Keep your weight at healthy levels
- Drink no more than one serving of alcohol daily
- Always get regular hearing screenings
Love your heart AND your hearing all year long!
Heart Healthy is Hearing Healthy!
Heart health and hearing health are connected, so we have to be aware of our overall health. Exercise at least a little every day (just a walk around the block will do!) and eat whole, unprocessed foods–these steps can make a big difference in overall health and also protect your hearing.
FREE Hearing Screening Celebrating Better Hearing Month
California Hearing Center invites you to come in for your Free Hearing Screening. When it comes to your hearing health, prevention is still the best medicine! No-obligation. Every Friday during the month for May 4, 11, 18 & 25 from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm. All ages welcome – No appointment necessary