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Hearing loss can have a big impact on many aspects of your life, but did you know that the factors involved in hearing loss are also associated with your heart? Find out how your hearing and cardiovascular health are linked and what you can do to stay healthy.

Interestingly enough, hearing loss and heart disease can arise from the same genetic factors. One study from Harvard Medical School found that the mutation causing some forms of sensorineural hearing loss is also the same mutation that causes dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition that causes the heart muscles to contract irregularly.

These conditions can often be hereditary, and it isn’t uncommon for different families to be more or less predisposed to both hearing loss and heart disease. Not only can hearing loss and heart disease be caused by the same genetic mutations, they can also be caused by the same environmental factors.

Smoking is a common yet harmful activity that can lead to both heart disease and hearing loss. The substances found in smoking can damage blood vessels, lead to buildups of plaque and cause hardening of the arteries. Although the exact mechanisms behind cigarette chemicals and hearing loss are unknown, researchers from Manchester University in Illinois have found that an individual’s risk of experiencing hearing loss increases by 15.1% if he or she is a persistent smoker.

Stress is another condition that can result in hearing loss and heart problems as well as headaches, irritability and digestive problems. Ways to counteract daily stress include getting enough sleep and taking short breaks during work.

Unlike the genetic aspects that might cause hearing loss and heart disease, many of these environmental factors can be avoided completely. There are actually a few activities that can improve cardiovascular health while protecting your ears.

Eating fish has been shown to be a successful method in lowering incidences of hearing loss. This is due to the presence of omega-3 fatty acids in food items like herring, tuna and salmon. These same omega-3 fatty acids are also great for the heart and lower the chances of having heart-related medical conditions including arrhythmias and plaque buildup.

Exercise is another important factor in staying healthy. Not only does it drastically reduce your chance of having obesity, another condition that results in higher incidences of hearing loss, but exercise is also great for your heart health, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week or 75 minutes of high intensity exercise is enough to give you the recommended amount of physical activity while reducing your stress levels.

Maintaining a healthy heart and ears is not only important for your physical well-being, but is also necessary for good mental health. Individuals who experience both hearing loss and heart disease are more likely to suffer from depression. These diet and exercise guidelines will not only aid in protecting your heart and ears, but can extend to a wide variety of physical and mental health benefits!

By: Aaron Rodriques