There are plenty of health reasons to keep in shape, but did you realize weight loss promotes better hearing?
Research indicates children and adults who are overweight are more likely to experience hearing loss and that healthy eating and exercising can help support your hearing. It will be easier to make healthy hearing choices for you and your whole family if you know about these connections.
Obesity And Adult Hearing
A Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s study showed women with a high body mass index (BMI) were at an increased risk of having hearing loss. BMI calculates the relationship between body fat and height, with a higher number indicating higher body fat. The higher the BMI of the 68,000 women in the study, the higher their hearing impairment amount. The heaviest individuals 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 loss. Women with bigger waist sizes had a higher chance of hearing loss, and the risk increased as waist sizes increased. And finally, incidents of hearing loss were lower in individuals who took part in regular physical activity.
Obesity And Children’s Hearing
A study on obese versus non-obese teenagers, conducted by Columbia University Medical Center, determined 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 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 hard to hear what people are saying in crowded settings, like classrooms.
Children often don’t notice they have a hearing issue so when they have hearing loss it’s especially worrisome. If the issue isn’t dealt with, there is a danger the hearing loss may get worse 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 problems. High blood pressure, diabetes, and poor circulation are all tied to hearing loss and are frequently the result of obesity.
The inner ear’s anatomy is very sensitive – consisting of a series of small capillaries, nerve cells, and other fragile parts that have to stay healthy to work effectively and in unison. It’s crucial to have strong blood flow. High blood pressure and the constricting of blood vessels brought about by obesity can obstruct this process.
Reduced blood flow can also damage the cochlea, which receives sound waves and sends nerve impulses to the brain so you can distinguish what you’re hearing. Damage to the cochlea and the adjoining nerve cells can rarely be undone.
Is There Anything You Can do?
Women who remained healthy and exercised frequently, according to a Brigham and Women’s Hospital study, had a 17% lowered likelihood of getting hearing loss compared to women who didn’t. Lowering your risk, however, doesn’t mean you have to be a marathon runner. The simple routine of walking for at least two hours each 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 advantages gained through weight loss. If you have a child or grandchild in your family who is obese, discuss steps your family can take to promote a healthier lifestyle. You can work this routine into family gatherings where you all will do exercises that are fun for kids. They may enjoy the exercises enough to do them on their own!
If you believe you are experiencing hearing loss, speak with a hearing professional to discover whether it is related to your weight. Better hearing can come from weight loss and there’s help available. This person can perform a hearing exam to verify your suspicions and advise you on the steps needed to deal with your hearing loss symptoms. A program of exercise and diet can be suggested by your primary care doctor if necessary.