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July 1987

Hearing Loss May Indicate Future Heart Disease

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1987;113(7):703. doi:10.1001/archotol.1987.01860070017007

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Researchers reported a possible link between both unexplained sensorineural hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and vascular problems in the heart. At the American Otological Society meeting, Harold C. Pillsbury III, MD, and colleagues reported that the effects of hypertension, prolonged noise, or high-fat diets have a greater effect on the cochlea (inner ear) than on the heart. These findings could result in early medical intervention in patients who are prone to atherosclerosis (fat in the arteries). In Dr Pillsbury's study, a technique to measure blood flow in any tissue in the body was used to monitor the blood flow to various parts of the cochlea in rats. Some of the rats were subjected to noise and/or a diet high in cholesterol and triglycerides, commonly found in an average human diet.

Dr Pillsbury found that the blood flow in the rats on high-fat diets was significantly higher, whether

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