How Your Weight Impacts Your Hearing

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There are lots of health reasons to remain in shape, but did you realize weight loss supports improved hearing?

Research reveals 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 choices for you and your whole family if you know about these relationships.

Obesity And Adult Hearing

Women had a higher risk of developing hearing loss, according to research carried out by Brigham And Women’s Hospital, if they have a high body mass index (BMI). BMI calculates the connection between height and body fat, with a higher number signifying higher body fat. Of the 68,000 women who took part in the study, the amount of hearing loss increased as BMI increased. The heaviest individuals in the study had a 25% higher instance of hearing loss.

Another dependable indicator of hearing loss, in this study, was the size of a person’s waist. Women with larger waist sizes had a higher risk of hearing loss, and the risk got higher as waist sizes increased. Lastly, participants who took part in frequent physical activity had a decreased incidence of hearing loss.

Children’s Hearing And Obesity

A study on obese versus non-obese teenagers, conducted by Columbia University Medical Center, determined that obese teenagers were twice as likely to develop hearing loss in one ear than teenagers who were not obese. These children suffered sensorineural hearing loss, which is a result of damage to sensitive hair cells in the inner ear that carry sound. This damage led to a decreased ability to hear sounds at low frequencies, which makes it hard to hear what people are saying in crowded settings, such as classrooms.

Children often don’t detect they have a hearing issue so when they have hearing loss it’s particularly worrisome. If the problem isn’t dealt with, there is a possibility the hearing loss may get worse when they become adults.

What is The Connection?

Obesity is associated with several health issues and researchers suspect that its connection with hearing loss and tinnitus lies with these health problems. High blood pressure, diabetes, and poor circulation are some of the health problems related to obesity and tied to hearing loss.

The inner ear’s workings are very sensitive – consisting of a series of small capillaries, nerve cells, and other delicate parts that need to remain healthy to work effectively and in unison. It’s crucial to have strong blood flow. High blood pressure and the narrowing of blood vessels caused by obesity can impede this process.

The cochlea is a part of the inner ear that receives sound vibrations and sends them to the brain for interpretation. The cochlea can be damaged if it doesn’t get adequate blood flow. Injury to the cochlea and the adjoining nerve cells can rarely be undone.

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 experiencing hearing loss compared to those who exercised least. Lowering your risk, however, doesn’t mean you have to be a marathon runner. Walking for two or more hours per week resulted in a 15% reduced risk of hearing loss than walking for under an hour.

Beyond losing weight, a better diet will improve 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 promote a healthier lifestyle. You can work this routine into family get-togethers where you all will do exercises that are fun for kids. They may like the exercises enough to do them on their own!

If you think you are experiencing hearing loss, speak with a hearing professional to determine whether it is related to your weight. Better hearing can come from weight loss and there’s help available. This person can conduct a hearing exam to confirm your suspicions and advise you on the steps necessary to deal with your hearing loss symptoms. If needed, your primary care physician will suggest a diet and exercise program that best suit your individual needs.

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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