Various U.S. and international studies have shown that cardiovascular disease (CVD) can cause hearing loss.
Specifically, the cochlea, a snail-like part of the inner ear that plays an important part in the hearing process, is often impaired when CVD-related factors or health conditions are present.
For example, research carried out in the U.S. and abroad has clearly shown that smoking, high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes and obesity - all precursors of CVD- can be harmful to both heart health and cochlear function.
One of the studies, the Epidemiology of Hearing Loss Study carried out in 2002 in Beaver Dam, WI, showed that participants with a history of CVD were on average 54 percent more likely to have impaired cochlear function.
Other research, which focused specifically on smoking, high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes and obesity, also demonstrated that these factors are toxic to the cochlea and, consequently, lead to hearing loss.
Pro-active measures such as quitting smoking, getting medical help for diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension, and losing weight with healthy diet and exercise, can diminish or eliminate these risk factors.