There are plenty of health reasons to keep in shape, but did you know weight loss supports better hearing?
Research reveals children and adults who are overweight are more likely to experience hearing loss and that eating healthy and exercising can help fortify your hearing. It will be easier to make healthy hearing choices for you and your whole family if you learn about these connections.
Obesity And Adult Hearing
A Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s study revealed that women with a high body mass index (BMI) were at an increased risk of experiencing hearing loss. 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 frequency. The heaviest people in the study had a 25% higher instance of hearing loss.
In this study, waist size also turned out to be a reliable indicator of hearing impairment. Women with larger waist sizes had a higher risk of hearing loss, and the risk increased as waist sizes increased. Lastly, participants who took part in regular physical activity had a decreased incidence of hearing loss.
Children’s Hearing And Obesity
A study on obese versus non-obese teenagers, performed by Columbia University Medical Center, determined that obese teenagers were twice as likely to experience hearing loss in one ear than teenagers who were not obese. Sensorineural hearing loss, which happens when the sensitive hair cells in the inner ear are damaged, was common in these children. This damage makes it difficult to hear what people are saying in a loud setting like a classroom because it decreases the ability to hear lower frequencies.
Hearing loss in children is especially worrisome because kids often don’t realize they have a hearing issue. There will be an increasing danger that the problem will get worse as they become an adult if it goes unaddressed.
What is The Connection?
Obesity is related to several health problems and researchers suspect that its connection with hearing loss and tinnitus lies with these health issues. Poor circulation, diabetes, and high blood pressure are all linked to hearing loss and are often caused by obesity.
The inner ear’s anatomy is very sensitive – composed of a series of small capillaries, nerve cells, and other fragile parts that need to remain healthy to work properly and in unison. It’s essential to have strong blood flow. High blood pressure and the narrowing of blood vessels caused by obesity can obstruct this process.
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 gets damaged, it’s usually permanent.
Is There Anything You Can do?
Women in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital study who exercised the most had a 17 percent lower risk of developing hearing loss in comparison with those who exercised least. Decreasing your risk, however, doesn’t mean you have to be a marathon runner. The simple routine of walking for at least two hours every week can reduce your risk of hearing loss by 15%.
Your entire family will benefit from eating better, as your diet can positively impact your hearing beyond the benefits gained from weight loss. 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 incorporate 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 enjoy them enough.
Talk to a hearing specialist to find out if any hearing loss you might be experiencing is related to your weight. Better hearing can be the result of weight loss and there’s help available. Your hearing specialist will identify your level of hearing loss and suggest the best course of action. If necessary, your primary care doctor will suggest a diet and exercise program that best suit your individual needs.