There are lots of health reasons to stay in shape, but did you know 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 support your hearing. Learning more about these associations can help you make healthy hearing decisions for you and your family.
Adult Hearing And Obesity
A Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s study showed that women with a high body mass index (BMI) were at a higher risk of having hearing loss. BMI calculates the connection between height and body fat, with a higher number signifying higher body fat. The higher the BMI of the 68,000 women in the study, the higher their hearing impairment amount. The participants who were the most overweight were as much as 25 % more likely to have hearing loss!
In this study, waist size also ended up being a reliable indicator of hearing loss. With women, as the waist size increases, the risk of hearing loss also increases. And finally, incidents of hearing loss were reduced in individuals who engaged in regular physical activity.
Obesity And Children’s Hearing
A study by Columbia University’s Medical Center demonstrated that obese teenagers had about double the risk of experiencing hearing loss in one ear when compared to non-obese teenagers. Sensorineural hearing loss, which develops when the sensitive hair cells in the inner ear are damaged, was common in these children. This damage resulted in a diminished ability to hear sounds at low frequencies, which makes it difficult to hear what people are saying in crowded places, such as classrooms.
Children often don’t realize they have a hearing problem so when they have hearing loss it’s particularly worrisome. If the issue isn’t dealt with, there is a danger the hearing loss may worsen when they become adults.
What is The Connection?
Obesity is related to several health issues 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 caused by obesity and tied to hearing loss.
The sensitive inner ear contains various delicate parts including nerve cells, small capillaries, and other parts that will quit working properly if they are not kept healthy. Good blood flow is essential. High blood pressure and the constricting of blood vessels caused by obesity can hamper 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 harmed if it doesn’t receive adequate blood flow. Injury to the cochlea and the adjoining nerve cells can rarely be undone.
What Should You do?
Women who remained healthy and exercised frequently, according to a Brigham and Women’s Hospital study, had a 17% reduced likelihood of getting hearing loss in comparison with women who didn’t. Reducing your risk, however, doesn’t mean you have to be a marathon runner. The simple routine of walking for at least two hours per week can decrease your chance of hearing loss by 15%.
Your whole family will benefit from a better diet, as your diet can positively impact your hearing beyond the advantages gained from weight loss. If you have a child or grandchild in your family who is overweight, talk about steps your family can take to promote a healthier lifestyle. You can work this program into family get-togethers 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 professional to figure out if any hearing loss you may be experiencing is related to your weight. Weight loss stimulates better hearing and help is available. This person can conduct 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 program that best suit your individual needs.