Can You Hear Me Now?

Heart health helps with auditory processing

(RxWiki News) Heart health is important for a number of reasons. One of the more unusual may be that it can aid with processing what we hear, particularly as the aging process begins.

Improving cardiovascular health could be the best way to ensure your body is best able to process what you hear.

Ray Hull, an audiologist and professor of communication sciences and disorders at Wichita State University, said hearing could be improved through many methods such as surgery and hearing aids. However, he added that for optimal central nervous system processing of what we hear, improving heart health is one way to make that happen.

"Add exercise to your regimin to improve hearing."

Hull accumulated 60 years worth of research on cardiovascular health and hearing, and compiled it into a readable format to analyze. He specifically looked at auditory processing, which includes the ability to make decisions about what we hear and the ability to comprehend what is said. Hearing aids, for example, can better help people hear, but don't aid with  processing.

Hull said that hearing loss occurs for many reasons with age, but that processing what we hear doesn't have to get old. He said that one reason that the processing of what people hear tends to decline with age is because they have become less active as they have aged.

Bettering heart health may be able to turn back the biological clock regardless of what age a person begins living a more active lifestyle. Even moderate activity for someone in their 80s or 90s could be beneficial. He suggests aerobics, walking, swimming and lifting weights as activities that could help boost auditory processing.

The research was previously published in the American Journal of Audiology.

Review Date: 
July 29, 2011