A Significant Reduction In Blood Flow To The Brain The Link Between Cardiovascular Disease and Hearing Loss: A Growing Role for Audiologists

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The Link Between Cardiovascular Disease and Hearing Loss: A Growing Role for Audiologists

A growing body of research is showing a significant relationship between cardiovascular disease and low-frequency hearing loss. Furthermore, it highlights the growing need for audiologists and physicians to work in partnership for better patient health outcomes.

Most studies focus on the effects of reduced blood supply due to cardiovascular compromise and downstream negative effects on inner ear vascular health. The inner ear is extremely sensitive to blood flow and appears to have a strong connection between the health of the cardiovascular system (heart, arteries and veins) and hearing. These studies suggest that a healthy cardiovascular system promotes healthy hearing, but insufficient blood flow and resulting damage to the blood vessels of the inner ear can contribute to hearing loss.

A recent study, Audiometric Patterns Predicting Cardiovascular Status: Development of a Model for Risk Assessment, suggests that low-frequency hearing loss may be a marker for cardiovascular disease rather than a consequence of disease and low-frequency audiometric patterns. Can potentially be used to predict cardiovascular health. The basic premise of the study is that the vascular aspect (reduced blood supply) of cardiovascular disease appears as an abnormality in blood flow conditions in the inner ear before it manifests in the heart, brain, arteries, kidneys, or eyes. Extreme sensitivity of the inner ear to blood flow.

Key findings from this study suggest that low-frequency hearing loss may be an early indicator of cerebrovascular disease (indicator of stroke potential) or a predictor of developing cardiovascular disease. Conclusion In 2009, David R. Friedland, MD, PhD, presented at the Integrated Otolaryngology Spring Meeting and published in The Laryngoscope (119:473-486, 2009).

Dr. Friedland summarized the important potential applications of the study: “We propose that low-frequency hearing loss is a marker of cardiovascular disease. or underlying disease. We suggest that clinicians can use the audiogram as a sensitive and reproducible screen for cardiovascular compromise. .

Considering the strength of the evidence, the researchers concluded that patients with an audiogram pattern of low-frequency hearing loss are at increased risk for cardiovascular events and appropriate referrals may be necessary, especially if they do not have a history of vascular compromise.

Audiologists typically refer patients to physicians when they suspect medical problems. These studies (and others that will be highlighted in future articles) should encourage calls for physicians to refer more patients to audiologists when hearing loss is suspected. Many audiologists have AuD educational credentials, significant medical knowledge, and advanced diagnostic equipment necessary to uncover potential underlying medical conditions. In any case, these and other studies suggest an increasing role for audiologists in supporting patients’ overall health.

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