An analysis of scientific works from the last 80 years has shown that cardiovascular health affects hearing and the ability to understand speech.
The analysis has been carried out by audiology neuroscience researcher Raymond Hull, PhD, a professor of communication sciences and disorders at Wichita State University in the US.
His conclusions on the link between cardiovascular health and auditory function are based on his analysis of findings from 70 different research studies.
Central nervous system needs oxygen
The auditory function impacted by cardiovascular health is problematic because our entire central nervous system needs an oxygen-rich nutrient supply. If it doesn’t get it due to cardiovascular health problems, then it can be affected, said Raymond Hull.
The connection between cardiovascular health and hearing is a logical one because both the inner ear which transduces sound into an electrochemical signal and the brain depend on healthy blood flow, Hull reports.
The brain interpret what we hear
Cardiovascular diseases can inhibit the blood and nutrient supply to the inner ear, which receives and analyzes sound. The affected auditory system includes both the brainstem and the auditory portions of the brain which interpret what we hear so that it can be analyzed and understood.
According to Hull there are many possible causes of hearing loss, and cardiovascular disease appears to compound the impact of those causes as well as the degree of hearing decline.
”One of the most frustrating aspects of this problem is the inability to process what we hear. Even when the hearing mechanism is working, what they hear just doesn’t make sense”, Hull said.