Everybody 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.
Studies have demonstrated that exercising and healthy eating can strengthen your hearing and that people who are overweight have a higher possibility of developing hearing loss. Learning more about these connections can help you make healthy hearing choices for you and your family.
Adult Hearing And Obesity
Women are more likely to experience hearing loss, according to a study carried out by Brigham And Women’s Hospital, if they have a high body mass index (BMI). The connection between height and body fat is what BMI measures. The higher the number the higher the body fat. The higher the BMI of the 68,000 women in the study, the higher their hearing loss incidence. The heaviest people in the study had a 25% greater instance of hearing loss.
Another reliable indicator of hearing impairment, in this study, was the size of a person’s waist. Women with bigger waist sizes had a higher risk of hearing loss, and the risk got higher as waist sizes increased. Lastly, participants who took part in regular physical activity had a decreased incidence of hearing loss.
Children’s Hearing And Obesity
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 weren’t obese. These children suffered sensorineural hearing loss, which is a result of damage to sensitive hair cells in the inner ear that convey sound. This damage makes it hard to hear what people are saying in a loud setting such as a classroom because it diminishes the ability to hear lower frequencies.
Children often don’t recognize they have a hearing problem so when they have hearing loss it’s particularly worrisome. If the issue isn’t dealt with, there is a possibility the hearing loss might get worse when they become adults.
What is The Connection?
Researchers surmise that the association 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 caused by obesity and linked to hearing loss.
The sensitive inner ear is made up of numerous delicate parts including nerve cells, small capillaries, and other parts that will quit working correctly if they are not kept healthy. Good blood flow is essential. High blood pressure and the constricting of blood vessels caused by obesity can obstruct this process.
Decreased blood flow can also damage the cochlea, which receives vibrations and sends nerve impulses to the brain so you can distinguish what you’re hearing. If the cochlea is damaged, it’s normally irreversible.
Is There Anything You Can do?
Women in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital study who exercised the most had a 17 percent less risk of experiencing hearing loss compared to those who exercised least. Decreasing your risk, however, doesn’t mean you have to be a marathon runner. Walking for two or more hours each week resulted in a 15% decreased chance of hearing loss than walking for less than an hour.
Beyond losing weight, a better diet will, of itself, help your hearing which will benefit your entire family. If there is a child in your family who has some extra weight, get together with your family members and put together a program to help them lose some of that weight. 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 like them enough.
Consult a hearing specialist to determine if any hearing loss you might be experiencing is associated with your weight. Better hearing can come from weight loss and there’s help available. Your hearing specialist will identify your level of hearing loss and advise you on the best strategy. A program of exercise and diet can be suggested by your primary care doctor if needed.