Everyone knows that exercising and keeping yourself in shape is good for your overall health but you may not realize 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 eating healthy and exercising can help fortify your hearing. Knowing more about these associations can help you make healthy hearing decisions for you and your family.
Obesity And Adult Hearing
Women had a higher risk of developing hearing loss, according to research done by Brigham And Women’s Hospital, if they have a high body mass index (BMI). BMI assesses the connection between height and body fat, with a higher number signifying higher body fat. Of the 68,000 women who took part in the study, the amount of hearing loss increased as BMI increased. The heaviest people in the study had a 25% greater instance of hearing loss.
Another reliable indicator of hearing loss, in this study, was the size of a person’s waist. With women, as the waist size gets bigger, the chance of hearing loss also increases. Lastly, participants who took part in regular physical activity had a reduced incidence of hearing loss.
Obesity And Children’s Hearing
Research conducted by Columbia University’s Medical Center demonstrated that obese teenagers had about twice the risk of experiencing hearing loss in one ear than 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 makes it difficult to hear what people are saying in a loud setting like a classroom because it diminishes the ability to hear lower frequencies.
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 get worse when they become adults.
What is The Connection?
Researchers suspect that the connection between obesity and hearing loss and tinnitus is based on the health symptoms linked to obesity. Poor circulation, diabetes, and high blood pressure are some of the health problems related to obesity and tied to hearing loss.
The sensitive inner ear is made up of numerous delicate parts such as nerve cells, little capillaries, and other parts which 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 which receives sound vibrations and transmits them to the brain for interpretation. The cochlea can be damaged if it doesn’t get the proper blood flow. Damage to the cochlea and the adjoining nerve cells usually can’t be reversed.
What Should You do?
Women in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital study who exercised the most had a 17 percent decreased chance of developing hearing loss in comparison with those who exercised least. Lowering 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 lower your chance of hearing loss by 15%.
Beyond weight loss, 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 obese, talk about steps your family can take to encourage a healthier lifestyle. You can incorporate this routine into family gatherings where you all will do exercises that are fun for kids. They may do the exercises on their own if they enjoy them enough.
Talk to a hearing specialist to figure out if any hearing loss you may be experiencing is associated with your weight. Weight loss promotes better hearing and help is available. Your hearing professional will determine your level of hearing loss and advise you on the best course of action. A regimen of exercise and diet can be recommended by your primary care physician if needed.