Everybody recognizes that exercising and keeping yourself in shape is good for your overall health but you might not know that losing weight is also good for your hearing.
Research shows children and adults who are overweight are more likely to cope with hearing loss and that healthy eating and exercising can help strengthen your hearing. It will be easier to make healthy hearing decisions for you and your whole family if you learn about these associations.
Obesity And Adult Hearing
A Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s study revealed women with a high body mass index (BMI) were at a higher risk of having hearing loss. BMI measures the connection between height and body fat, with a higher number indicating higher body fat. Of the 68,000 women who took part 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 impairment!
Another dependable indicator of hearing loss, in this study, was waist size. Women with bigger waist sizes had a higher risk of hearing loss, and the risk got higher as waist sizes increased. And finally, incidents of hearing loss were lower in people who took part in frequent physical activity.
Obesity And Children’s Hearing
A study on obese versus non-obese teenagers, performed by Columbia University Medical Center, concluded that obese teenagers were twice as likely to develop hearing loss in one ear than teenagers who were not obese. Sensorineural hearing loss, which develops when the delicate 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 hard to hear what people are saying in crowded settings, such as classrooms.
Hearing loss in children is especially worrisome because kids often don’t realize they have a hearing issue. If the issue isn’t addressed, there is a danger the hearing loss could worsen when they become adults.
What is The Connection?
Researchers think that the connection between obesity and hearing loss and tinnitus is based on the health symptoms linked to obesity. High blood pressure, poor circulation, and diabetes are some of the health problems caused by obesity and tied to hearing loss.
The inner ear’s workings are very sensitive – composed of a series of small capillaries, nerve cells, and other delicate parts that must stay healthy to work correctly and in unison. It’s crucial 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 sound waves and transmits 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 who remained healthy and exercised regularly, according to a Brigham and Women’s Hospital study, had a 17% reduced likelihood of developing hearing loss compared to women who didn’t. Lowering your risk, however, doesn’t mean you need to be a marathon runner. The simple routine of walking for at least two hours each week can lower your chance of hearing loss by 15%.
Your whole family will benefit from eating better, as your diet can positively affect your hearing beyond the benefits gained from weight loss. If there is a child in your family who has some extra weight, talk with your family members and develop a program to help them shed some pounds. You can incorporate this program into family get-togethers where you all will do exercises that are fun for kids. They may do the exercises on their own if they enjoy them enough.
Consult a hearing professional to find out if any hearing loss you might be experiencing is related to your weight. Weight loss stimulates better hearing and help is available. This person can do a hearing exam to confirm your suspicions and advise you on the measures needed to correct your hearing loss symptoms. A regimen of exercise and diet can be suggested by your primary care doctor if needed.