There are lots of health reasons to remain in shape, but did you realize weight loss supports improved hearing?
Research indicates children and adults who are overweight are more likely to experience hearing loss and that eating healthy and exercising can help support your hearing. Learning more about these relationships can help you make healthy hearing choices for you and your family.
Adult Hearing And Obesity
A Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s study showed women with a high body mass index (BMI) were at a higher risk of experiencing hearing loss. BMI assesses the relationship between body fat and height, with a higher number meaning 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 people in the study had a 25% higher instance of hearing loss.
In this study, waist size also ended up being a dependable indicator of hearing impairment. Women with bigger waist sizes had a higher risk of hearing loss, and the risk got higher as waist sizes increased. As a final point, participants who took part in regular physical activity had a lower incidence of hearing loss.
Children’s Hearing And Obesity
A study on obese versus non-obese teenagers, carried out 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. 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 diminished ability to hear sounds at low frequencies, which makes it difficult to understand what people are saying in crowded settings, such as classrooms.
Hearing loss in children is particularly worrisome because kids often don’t recognize they have a hearing problem. If the problem isn’t dealt with, there is a danger the hearing loss might get worse when they become adults.
What is The Connection?
Obesity is related to several health problems and researchers believe that its connection with hearing loss and tinnitus lies with these health issues. Poor circulation, diabetes, and high blood pressure are some of the health issues related to obesity and tied to hearing loss.
The sensitive inner ear contains numerous delicate parts including nerve cells, little capillaries, and other parts that will quit working efficiently if they are not kept healthy. Good blood flow is essential. High blood pressure and the constricting of blood vessels brought about by obesity can obstruct this process.
Decreased blood flow can also damage the cochlea, which accepts sound waves and sends nerve impulses to the brain so you can recognize what you’re hearing. Damage to the cochlea and the surrounding nerve cells usually can’t be reversed.
What Should You do?
Women in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital study who exercised the most had a 17 percent less chance of experiencing hearing loss in comparison with those who exercised least. You don’t have to run a marathon to lower your risk, however. The simple act of walking for at least two hours every week can decrease your chance of hearing loss by 15%.
Beyond losing weight, a better diet will, of itself, improve your hearing which will benefit your whole family. If you have a child or grandchild in your family who is obese, discuss steps your family can take to encourage a healthier lifestyle. You can work this routine into family gatherings where you all will do exercises that are fun for kids. They might do the exercises on their own if they like them enough.
Talk to a hearing specialist to find out if any hearing loss you may be experiencing is related to your weight. Weight loss promotes better hearing and help is available. This person can do a hearing exam to verify your suspicions and advise you on the steps necessary to deal with your hearing loss symptoms. If needed, your primary care doctor will suggest a diet and exercise routine that best suit your personal needs.