How Your Weight Impacts Your Hearing

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

There are plenty of health reasons to stay in shape, but did you realize weight loss promotes 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 fortify your hearing. It will be easier to make healthy hearing choices for you and your whole family if you know about these associations.

Obesity And Adult Hearing

Women had a higher risk of developing hearing loss, according to a study carried out by Brigham And Women’s Hospital, if they have a high body mass index (BMI). BMI calculates the relationship between height and body fat, with a higher number indicating higher body fat. The higher the BMI of the 68,000 women in the study, the higher their hearing loss amount. The heaviest people in the study had a 25% higher instance of hearing loss.

Another dependable indicator of hearing impairment, in this study, was waist size. Women with bigger waist sizes had a higher chance of hearing loss, and the risk got higher as waist sizes increased. And finally, incidents of hearing loss were decreased in people who took part in frequent physical activity.

Children’s Hearing And Obesity

A study on obese versus non-obese teenagers, conducted by Columbia University Medical Center, concluded 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 noisy setting such as a classroom because it decreases the ability to hear lower frequencies.

Children usually don’t detect they have a hearing problem so when they have hearing loss it’s especially worrisome. If the problem isn’t addressed, there is a possibility the hearing loss may get worse 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 related to obesity. Poor circulation, diabetes, and high blood pressure are some of the health issues related to obesity and linked to hearing loss.

The inner ear’s workings are very sensitive – consisting of a series of small capillaries, nerve cells, and other delicate parts that need to remain healthy to work properly and in unison. It’s crucial to have strong blood flow. High blood pressure and the narrowing of blood vessels brought about by obesity can impede this process.

The cochlea is a part of the inner ear which receives sound vibrations and delivers them to the brain for interpretation. The cochlea can be damaged if it doesn’t get adequate blood flow. Damage to the cochlea and the adjoining 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% lowered likelihood of getting hearing loss compared to women who didn’t. You don’t need to run a marathon to reduce your risk, however. Walking for a couple of hours every week resulted in a 15% decreased chance of hearing loss than walking for under an hour.

Your whole family will benefit from a better diet, as your diet can positively affect 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 shed some pounds. You can incorporate this routine into family get-togethers where you all will do exercises that are fun for kids. They might enjoy the exercises so much they will do them on their own!

Talk to a hearing professional to figure out if any hearing loss you may be experiencing is related to your weight. Better hearing can come from weight loss and there’s help available. We will identify your level of hearing loss and advise you on the best course of action. If necessary, your primary care doctor will suggest a diet and exercise program that best suit your individual needs.

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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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