There are lots of health reasons to remain in shape, but did you realize weight loss promotes improved hearing?
Research shows children and adults who are overweight are more likely to experience hearing loss and that healthy eating and exercising can help fortify your hearing. Understanding more about these connections can help you make healthy hearing choices for you and your family.
Adult Hearing And Obesity
A Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s study showed that women with a high body mass index (BMI) were at an increased risk of experiencing hearing loss. BMI assesses the relationship between body fat and height, 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 participants who were the most overweight were as much as 25 % more likely to experience hearing impairment!
Another dependable 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 increased as waist sizes increased. Lastly, participants who engaged in frequent physical activity had a reduced incidence of hearing loss.
Children’s Hearing And Obesity
Research conducted by Columbia University’s Medical Center confirmed that obese teenagers had about double the risk of experiencing hearing loss in one ear than non-obese teenagers. These children experienced sensorineural hearing loss, which is caused by damage to sensitive hair cells in the inner ear that carry sound. This damage makes it difficult to hear what people are saying in a loud setting like 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 issue. If the problem isn’t addressed, there is a possibility the hearing loss could worsen when they become adults.
What is The Connection?
Obesity is related to several health issues and researchers think that its connection with hearing loss and tinnitus lies with these health problems. Poor circulation, diabetes, and high blood pressure are all linked to hearing loss and are often the result of obesity.
The inner ear’s workings are very sensitive – comprised of a series of small capillaries, nerve cells, and other delicate parts that must remain healthy to work effectively and in unison. It’s crucial to have strong blood flow. High blood pressure and the narrowing of blood vessels brought about by obesity can impede this process.
Decreased blood flow can also damage the cochlea, which accepts sound waves and transmits nerve impulses to the brain so you can recognize what you’re hearing. If the cochlea gets 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. Lessening your risk, however, doesn’t mean you have to be a marathon runner. The simple act of walking for at least two hours every week can decrease your risk of hearing loss by 15%.
Your whole family will benefit from a better diet, as your diet can positively impact your hearing beyond the advantages gained from weight loss. 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 teach them exercises that are enjoyable for children and work them into family get-togethers. They may do the exercises on their own if they enjoy them enough.
Talk to a hearing specialist to determine 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. Your hearing professional will identify your level of hearing loss and suggest the best plan of action. A program of exercise and diet can be suggested by your primary care physician if needed.