February is American Heart Month! What exactly does this have to do with your ears? The inner ear is extremely sensitive to blood flow and studies have shown that a healthy cardiovascular system can have a positive effect on hearing.
The inner ear depends upon a rich blood supply for proper function and longevity. The blood supply to the inner ear does not have the same redundant parallel pathways that some other areas of the body have. A single small artery, the anterior inferior cochlear artery, supplies key sensory areas of the inner ear. If a vascular event such as a blockage or other failure occurs, there is no back up to prevent permanent damage to the ear due to lack of oxygen and nutrients.
Maintenance of good cardiovascular health is beneficial for overall health, but crucial for protection of hearing function because of the lack of a redundant supply. Diet, exercise and lifestyle tips for good cardiovascular health are readily available, especially during National Heart Month. If we care about our hearing and the quality of life we enjoy, it pays to take care of our general health, and especially our cardiovascular system.
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