Everyone recognizes that exercising and keeping yourself in shape is good for your general health but you might not know that losing weight is also good for your hearing.
Research indicates children and adults who are overweight are more likely to cope with hearing loss and that healthy eating and exercising can help strengthen your hearing. It will be easier to make healthy hearing choices for you and your whole family if you understand these associations.
Adult Hearing And Obesity
Women are more likely to experience hearing loss, according to a study done by Brigham And Women’s Hospital, if they have a high body mass index (BMI). BMI measures the connection between height and body fat, with a higher number meaning higher body fat. The higher the BMI of the 68,000 women in the study, the higher their hearing impairment amount. The heaviest people in the study had a 25% greater instance of hearing loss.
Another reliable indicator of hearing loss, 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. Lastly, participants who engaged in frequent physical activity had a lower incidence of hearing loss.
Children’s Hearing And Obesity
A study on obese versus non-obese teenagers, conducted 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. Sensorineural hearing loss, which occurs 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 such as a classroom because it decreases the ability to hear lower frequencies.
Hearing loss in children is particularly worrisome because kids frequently don’t realize they have a hearing problem. If the problem isn’t addressed, there is a risk the hearing loss might worsen when they become adults.
What is The Connection?
Obesity is associated with several health issues and researchers think that its connection with hearing loss and tinnitus lies with these health issues. Poor circulation, diabetes, and high blood pressure are all linked to hearing loss and are frequently caused by obesity.
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 aren’t kept healthy. Good blood flow is essential. 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 that 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.
Is There Anything You Can do?
Women in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital study who exercised the most had a 17 percent lower chance of experiencing hearing loss in comparison with those who exercised least. You don’t need to run a marathon to lower your risk, however. Walking for two or more hours each week resulted in a 15% decreased chance of hearing loss than walking for less than an hour.
Your whole family will benefit from eating better, as your diet can positively impact your hearing beyond the advantages gained through weight loss. If you have a child or grandchild in your family who is obese, discuss steps your family can take to encourage a healthier lifestyle. You can incorporate this program into family gatherings where you all will do exercises that are fun for kids. They might do the exercises on their own if they enjoy them enough.
If you believe you are experiencing hearing loss, speak with a hearing specialist to discover whether it is linked to your weight. Better hearing can be the result of weight loss and there’s help available. Your hearing professional will determine your level of hearing loss and suggest the best plan of action. A program of exercise and diet can be recommended by your primary care doctor if necessary.