Woman weighing herself and realizing her weight affects her hearing health.

Everybody knows that exercising and keeping yourself in shape is good for your overall health but you may not realize that losing weight is also good for your hearing.

Research shows children and adults who are overweight are more likely to experience hearing loss and that healthy eating and exercising can help strengthen your hearing. It will be easier to make healthy hearing decisions for you and your whole family if you know about these relationships.

Adult Hearing And Obesity

Women are more likely to experience hearing loss, according to a study carried out by Brigham And Women’s Hospital, if they have a high body mass index (BMI). The relationship between body fat and height is what BMI measures. The higher the number the higher the body fat. The higher the BMI of the 68,000 women in the study, the higher their hearing loss amount. The heaviest individuals in the study had a 25% greater instance of hearing loss.

In this study, waist size also ended up being a dependable indicator of hearing impairment. With women, as the waist size gets bigger, the chance of hearing loss also increases. As a final point, participants who engaged in frequent physical activity had a reduced incidence of hearing loss.

Obesity And Children’s Hearing

Research conducted by Columbia University’s Medical Center demonstrated that obese teenagers had about double the risk of developing hearing loss in one ear when compared to non-obese teenagers. Sensorineural hearing loss, which occurs when the sensitive hair cells in the inner ear are damaged, was common in these children. This damage led to a decreased ability to hear sounds at low frequencies, which makes it hard to understand what people are saying in crowded places, such as classrooms.

Children usually don’t recognize they have a hearing problem so when they have hearing loss it’s particularly worrisome. If the issue isn’t dealt with, there is a danger the hearing loss may worsen when they become adults.

What is The Connection?

Obesity is associated with several health problems and researchers think that its connection with hearing loss and tinnitus lies with these health issues. High blood pressure, poor circulation, and diabetes are all linked to hearing loss and are often the result of obesity.

The inner ear’s workings are very sensitive – consisting of a series of little capillaries, nerve cells, and other fragile parts that must stay healthy to work correctly and in unison. Good blood flow is crucial. This process can be hindered when obesity causes narrowing of the blood vessels and high blood pressure.

Decreased blood flow can also damage the cochlea, which accepts vibrations and sends nerve impulses to the brain so you can distinguish what you’re hearing. If the cochlea is damaged, it’s normally irreversible.

Is There Anything You Can do?

Women in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital study who exercised the most had a 17 percent decreased chance of developing hearing loss compared to those who exercised least. You don’t have to run a marathon to reduce your risk, however. The simple act of walking for at least two hours per week can decrease your risk of hearing loss by 15%.

Beyond losing weight, a better diet will, of itself, help your hearing which will benefit your whole family. If you have a child or grandchild in your family who is overweight, discuss steps your family can take to encourage a healthier lifestyle. You can work this program into family gatherings where you all will do exercises that are fun for kids. They may do the exercises on their own if they like them enough.

Consult a hearing professional to find out if any hearing loss you might be experiencing is related to your weight. Better hearing can come from weight loss and there’s help available. Your hearing professional will determine your level of hearing loss and advise you on the best strategy. If needed, your primary care doctor will suggest a diet and exercise program that best suit your personal needs.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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