Hearing loss, stress and cardiovascular disease. Connected?

We are no doubt living in stressful times. The psychological stress due to a pandemic is undeniable. Our lives changed in many ways within several short weeks due to a novel virus. Meanwhile, we should not forget other conditions and diseases persist in the population. It is important not to neglect the other factors in our health. Additionally, we need to be aware of the powerful effects stress can have on our overall health and wellness. Hearing loss is no exception.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) has been found in studies to be associated with psychological distress. Stress has been found to be a major risk factor for CVD. A simple example is elevated blood pressure due to stressful events. The burdens of stress have also been found to increase mortality rates among patients with CVD.

In other studies, hearing loss has been found to isolate people socially, particularly among older people. Hellen Keller wrote that hearing loss “separates us from people.” Fatigue, depression and withdrawal from relationships tend to follow isolation. Social isolation increases with loss, impacting quality of life and often resulting in symptoms such as anxiety and depression.

Consider this. Aging, blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, and heredity are risk factors common to both CVD and hearing loss. Consider also the tendency of hearing loss to contribute to social isolation and frustration, which can lead to increased risk of CVD. This is not to say loss of hearing will necessarily give you heart problems, however, it’s becoming clear hearing may have a larger role in our overall wellbeing than we thought.

Always strive to maintain your best health through proper diet and exercise, but do not neglect hearing and communication. Stay in the game. Stay connected to people. As always, we wish to keep you on a clear path to good hearing and ear health.