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Hearing loss is often lumped in with a long list of age-related changes most of us have a high probability of experiencing.
And while the idea of spending my senior years with a hand cupped over the good ear and asking people to repeat themselves isn’t unnerving, I’m certainly not looking forward to it.
But what is unnerving is that the causes of hearing loss are not all benign — meaning that trouble hearing could be the least of your problems…
In fact, sometimes hearing loss can be a warning of a future stroke…
Narrowed blood vessels can steal your hearing
Plaque can begin building up and causing our arteries to thicken and narrow as early as our 20s and 30s, but for some, not until their 50s. Researchers decided to look at how thickening of the carotid arteries at midlife might affect, of all things, hearing loss later in life.
And they found a concerning association…
They analyzed data from close to 3,600 participants to compare hearing levels with plaque buildup in the carotid arteries.
They were able to determine that having 0.1 mm thicker carotid thickness due to buildup, on average, was associated with 0.59 decibels higher 4-frequency pure tone average (PTA) — the average hearing level in each ear. That means noises had to reach a higher threshold level for these patients to hear them.
And here’s why thick arteries can impact your hearing…
According to the American Academy of Audiology, our ears, just like other parts of the body require sufficient oxygen-rich blood flow to function optimally.
Not only are the carotid arteries the two major suppliers of blood from the heart to the brain, but very near your ears, they branch out to form the internal and external carotid arteries. From there, additional small artery branches nourish your head, neck and all they contain — including your ears.
Anything that reduces blood flow to the ear can lead to damage in different parts of the auditory system — damage that can be permanent.
Artery TLC may help you keep your hearing
First off, if you’ve noticed changes in your hearing, ask your doctor about performing an ultrasound to examine the blood flow through the carotids. You may have to insist.
Approximately 75 percent of all ischemic strokes occur in the distribution of the carotid arteries in the neck.
Secondly, get serious about taking care of your arteries…
Improve your sleep. Disrupted sleep leads to higher concentrations of inflammatory factors in the blood, specifically white blood cells known as monocytes and neutrophils, known to contribute to the fatty plaques that can build up inside arteries.
Explore EDTA chelation therapy. One of the primary ingredients of plaque is calcium, along with cholesterol and fibrin. Chelation therapy has been shown to bind to heavy metals and minerals which are then flushed out of the body in urine.
Learn to love beets. Beets or beetroot powder boost your body’s production of nitric oxide — the path to better blood vessels, blood pressure and blood flow.
Eat less meat. Trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO) is a compound that’s produced when you eat red meat. People with more TMAO in their blood have been found to have much worse artery function and more tissue damage in the lining of their blood vessels.
Eat more natto. Natto is a fermented soy dish that happens to be the highest source of vitamin K2 and contains the naturally occurring enzyme, nattokinase, that’s capable of dissolving fibrin.
Editor’s note: Have you heard of EDTA chelation therapy? It was developed originally to remove lead and other contaminants, including heavy metals, from the body. Its uses now run the gamut from varicose veins to circulation. Click here to discover Chelation: Natural Miracle for Protecting Your Heart and Enhancing Your Health!
Heart Disease and Hearing Loss – American Academy of Audiology
Association of Carotid Atherosclerosis With Hearing Loss – JAMA Network