by: Dr. Nimet Adam
A healthy heart ensures that blood is pumped throughout the body so that cells can receive the oxygen required to function. When your heart is not pumping blood properly or there are arteries that are blocked, this puts cells, muscles and organs at risk.
The inner ear capillaries must deliver oxygen and remove carbon dioxide for the cochlea to function. The posterior auricular artery is the main blood supply to the external ear. Poor blood supply to the various parts of your ear can result in hearing loss, tinnitus and balance issues.
Hearing Loss: A stroke or hypoxia where oxygen is blocked from reaching the inner ear can cause sudden hearing loss. Poor circulation can increase your risk of hearing loss and make the progression of hearing loss more rapid. It is often said that the ear is a window to the heart. Low-frequency hearing loss is significantly associated with vascular disease, artery disease, myocardial infarction, strokes and transient ischemic attack (TIA or mini-strokes).
Tinnitus: Conditions that affect your blood flow, such as high blood pressure or narrowed arteries (atherosclerosis), can increase your risk of tinnitus. Pulsatile tinnitus is hearing sounds in the ear or head that match your pulse or heartbeat.
Balance: when your brain does not get enough blood, you feel lightheaded. You may have experienced a lightheaded feeling on occasion when standing up quickly from a lying-down position. People that experience this regularly may have arteriosclerosis. It is commonly seen in patients who have high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol. The inner ear is very sensitive to minor alterations of blood flow; causes for poor circulation to the brain also apply specifically to the inner ear. Poor circulation to the feet (neuropathy) also affects balance.
The main point of all the studies is that some heart diseases and some types of hearing loss, tinnitus and imbalance are related. If you have heart disease, you should have your hearing evaluated. If you have a moderate, or greater, low-frequency, inner-ear hearing loss, you should have your cardiovascular system evaluated. Call today to schedule your appointment: