There are plenty of health reasons to keep in shape, but did you realize weight loss supports better hearing?
Studies have established that exercising and healthy eating can reinforce your hearing and that individuals who are overweight have an increased possibility of dealing with hearing loss. Knowing more about these associations 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 that women with a high body mass index (BMI) were at a higher risk of experiencing 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 level of hearing loss increased as BMI increased. The participants who were the most overweight were as much as 25 % more likely to experience hearing impairment!
Another reliable indicator of hearing loss, in this study, was the size of a person’s waist. Women with larger waist sizes had a higher risk of hearing loss, and the risk got higher as waist sizes increased. And finally, incidents of hearing loss were reduced in individuals who engaged in frequent physical activity.
Children’s Hearing And Obesity
A study by Columbia University’s Medical Center confirmed that obese teenagers had about double the risk of developing hearing loss in one ear than non-obese teenagers. These children suffered sensorineural hearing loss, which is caused by damage to sensitive hair cells in the inner ear that carry sound. 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, such as classrooms.
Hearing loss in children is especially worrisome because kids frequently don’t recognize they have a hearing issue. If the problem isn’t dealt with, there is a risk 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 lies in the health symptoms related to obesity. High blood pressure, poor circulation, and diabetes are all tied to hearing loss and are often caused by obesity.
The sensitive inner ear contains various delicate parts such as nerve cells, small capillaries, and other parts that will quit working properly if they are not kept healthy. Good blood flow is crucial. This process can be hindered 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 delivers them to the brain for translation. The cochlea can be damaged if it doesn’t receive the proper blood flow. Damage to the cochlea and the surrounding 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 less risk of experiencing hearing loss compared to those who exercised least. You don’t need to run a marathon to lower your risk, however. The simple routine of walking for at least two hours per week can decrease your risk of hearing loss by 15%.
Your whole family will benefit from eating better, as your diet can positively impact your hearing beyond the advantages gained from 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 show them exercises that are enjoyable for children and work them into family get-togethers. They may do the exercises on their own if they like them enough.
Consult 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. This individual can do a hearing exam to confirm your suspicions and advise you on the measures necessary to deal with your hearing loss symptoms. If necessary, your primary care doctor will suggest a diet and exercise program that best suit your personal needs.