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

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

Studies have established that exercising and eating healthy can reinforce your hearing and that individuals who are overweight have a higher chance of getting hearing loss. Knowing more about these relationships can help you make healthy hearing decisions for you and your family.

Adult Hearing And Obesity

Women are more likely to experience hearing loss, according to research done 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. Of the 68,000 women who participated in the study, the degree of hearing loss increased as BMI increased. The participants who were the most overweight were up to 25 percent more likely to have hearing loss!

Another dependable indicator of hearing impairment, in this study, was the size of a person’s waist. Women with bigger waist sizes had a higher chance of hearing loss, and the risk got higher as waist sizes increased. And finally, incidents of hearing loss were reduced in individuals who engaged in frequent physical activity.

Children’s Hearing And Obesity

A study on obese versus non-obese teenagers, performed by Columbia University Medical Center, concluded that obese teenagers were twice as likely to experience hearing loss in one ear than teenagers who weren’t 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 difficult to hear what people are saying in crowded settings, such as classrooms.

Children usually don’t detect they have a hearing problem so when they have hearing loss it’s particularly worrisome. If the issue isn’t addressed, there is a risk the hearing loss might worsen when they become adults.

What is The Connection?

Obesity is related to 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 issues related to obesity and linked to hearing loss.

The sensitive inner ear contains numerous delicate parts such as nerve cells, small capillaries, and other parts that will stop working properly if they are not kept healthy. 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 sound waves and sends nerve impulses to the brain so you can distinguish what you’re hearing. Damage 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 lower chance of developing hearing loss versus those who exercised least. You don’t need to run a marathon to reduce your risk, however. The simple act of walking for at least two hours per week can decrease your chance of hearing loss by 15%.

Beyond weight loss, a better diet will, of itself, help your hearing which will benefit your whole family. If there is a child in your family who has some extra weight, get together with your family members and put together a routine to help them shed some pounds. You can show them exercises that are enjoyable for children and work them into family gatherings. They might enjoy the exercises so much they will do them on their own!

Consult a hearing professional to figure out if any hearing loss you might be experiencing is associated with your weight. Better hearing can be the result of weight loss and there’s help available. This individual can do a hearing test to confirm your suspicions and advise you on the steps necessary to deal with your hearing loss symptoms. A regimen of exercise and diet can be recommended by your primary care physician if necessary.

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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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