Hearing Health Blog

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

There are lots of health reasons to stay in shape, but did you know weight loss supports better hearing?

Studies have demonstrated that exercising and eating healthy can strengthen your hearing and that individuals who are overweight have an increased chance of suffering from hearing loss. Knowing more about these relationships can help you make healthy hearing decisions for you and your family.

Obesity And Adult Hearing

A Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s study revealed that women with a high body mass index (BMI) were at a higher danger of having 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 impairment incidence. The heaviest people in the study had a 25% higher instance of hearing loss.

Another dependable indicator of hearing loss, in this study, was waist size. Women with larger 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 by Columbia University’s Medical Center revealed that obese teenagers had nearly double the risk of experiencing hearing loss in one ear when compared to non-obese teenagers. These children suffered sensorineural hearing loss, which is a result of damage to sensitive hair cells in the inner ear that convey sound. This damage makes it hard to hear what people are saying in a loud setting such as a classroom because it diminishes the ability to hear lower frequencies.

Hearing loss in children is particularly worrisome because kids frequently don’t recognize they have a hearing problem. If the problem isn’t addressed, there is a possibility the hearing loss might get worse when they become adults.

What is The Connection?

Researchers suspect that the association between obesity and hearing loss and tinnitus lies in the health symptoms related to obesity. Poor circulation, diabetes, and high blood pressure are all tied to hearing loss and are often the result of obesity.

The inner ear’s workings are very sensitive – composed of a series of small capillaries, nerve cells, and other fragile parts that must stay healthy to work correctly and in unison. It’s essential to have strong blood flow. This process can be hampered when obesity causes narrowing of the blood vessels and high blood pressure.

Decreased blood flow can also damage the cochlea, which receives 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.

Is There Anything You Can 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. Reducing your risk, however, doesn’t mean you need to be a marathon runner. The simple act of walking for at least two hours per week can lower your risk of hearing loss by 15%.

Your whole family will benefit from eating better, as your diet can positively impact your hearing beyond the benefits gained through weight loss. If there is a child in your family who has some extra weight, talk with your family members and put together a program to help them lose some of that weight. You can incorporate this routine into family gatherings where you all will do exercises that are fun for kids. They might like the exercises enough to do them on their own!

If you believe you are experiencing hearing loss, talk to a hearing professional to determine whether it is linked to your weight. Better hearing can come from weight loss and there’s help available. This person can conduct a hearing test to verify your suspicions and advise you on the steps necessary to deal with your hearing loss symptoms. A regimen of exercise and diet can be suggested by your primary care doctor 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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