There are lots of health reasons to keep in shape, but did you realize weight loss promotes improved hearing?
Studies have demonstrated that exercising and eating healthy can strengthen your hearing and that people who are overweight have an increased chance of dealing with hearing loss. Understanding more about these relationships can help you make healthy hearing choices for you and your family.
Obesity And Adult Hearing
A Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s study demonstrated women with a high body mass index (BMI) were at an increased risk of having hearing loss. The relationship between height and body fat is what BMI measures. The higher the number the higher the body fat. Of the 68,000 women who participated in the study, the amount of hearing loss increased as BMI increased. The participants who were the most overweight were as much as 25 percent more likely to experience hearing impairment!
In this study, waist size also turned out to be a reliable indicator of hearing loss. Women with bigger 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 frequent physical activity had a decreased incidence of hearing loss.
Obesity And Children’s Hearing
A study on obese versus non-obese teenagers, carried out by Columbia University Medical Center, determined 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 delicate hair cells in the inner ear are damaged, was common in these children. This damage led to a decreased ability to hear sounds at low frequencies, which makes it hard to hear what people are saying in crowded settings, like classrooms.
Hearing loss in children is especially worrisome because kids often don’t realize they have a hearing problem. If the issue isn’t addressed, there is a risk the hearing loss might worsen when they become adults.
What is The Connection?
Obesity is related to several health problems and researchers believe that its connection with hearing loss and tinnitus lies with these health issues. High blood pressure, diabetes, and poor circulation are some of the health issues related to obesity and linked to hearing loss.
The sensitive inner ear contains various delicate parts such as nerve cells, little capillaries, and other parts that will stop working properly if they aren’t kept healthy. Good blood flow is crucial. This process can be hampered when obesity causes narrowing of the blood vessels and high blood pressure.
The cochlea is a part of the inner ear that receives sound vibrations and delivers them to the brain for translation. The cochlea can be damaged if it doesn’t get adequate blood flow. If the cochlea is damaged, it’s usually permanent.
Is There Anything You Can do?
Women who remained healthy and exercised regularly, according to a Brigham and Women’s Hospital study, had a 17% lowered likelihood of developing hearing loss versus women who didn’t. Lessening your risk, however, doesn’t mean you need to be a marathon runner. The simple act of walking for at least two hours each week can lower your risk of hearing loss by 15%.
Beyond losing weight, a better diet will, of itself, help your hearing which will benefit your entire family. If you have a child or grandchild in your family who is overweight, discuss 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 enjoy the exercises enough to do them on their own!
Consult a hearing professional to find out if any hearing loss you may be experiencing is related to your weight. Better hearing can be the result of weight loss and there’s help available. This individual can perform a hearing exam to confirm your suspicions and advise you on the measures necessary to deal with your hearing loss symptoms. A regimen of exercise and diet can be recommended by your primary care doctor if needed.