Everyone recognizes that exercising and keeping yourself in shape is good for your overall 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 experience hearing loss and that healthy eating and exercising can help fortify your hearing. It will be easier to make healthy hearing choices for you and your whole family if you learn about these associations.
Adult Hearing And Obesity
Women had a higher risk of developing hearing loss, according to a study carried out by Brigham And Women’s Hospital, if they have a high body mass index (BMI). BMI calculates the relationship between body fat and height, with a higher number meaning higher body fat. Of the 68,000 women who took part in the study, the degree of hearing loss increased as BMI increased. The participants who were the most overweight were up to 25 percent more likely to have hearing impairment!
In this study, waist size also turned out to be a dependable indicator of hearing impairment. Women with larger waist sizes had a higher chance of hearing loss, and the risk got higher as waist sizes increased. And finally, incidents of hearing loss were lower in people who took part in regular physical activity.
Obesity And Children’s Hearing
A study on obese versus non-obese teenagers, carried out by Columbia University Medical Center, concluded that obese teenagers were twice as likely to experience hearing loss in one ear than teenagers who were not 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 noisy setting like a classroom because it diminishes the ability to hear lower frequencies.
Hearing loss in children is especially worrisome because kids frequently don’t realize they have a hearing problem. If the issue isn’t addressed, there is a danger the hearing loss could get worse when they become adults.
What is The Connection?
Obesity is associated with several health problems and researchers suspect that its connection with hearing loss and tinnitus lies with these health problems. High blood pressure, diabetes, and poor circulation are all tied to hearing loss and are frequently caused by obesity.
The inner ear’s anatomy is very sensitive – composed of a series of little capillaries, nerve cells, and other delicate parts that need to stay healthy to work effectively and in unison. It’s crucial to have strong blood flow. This process can be hampered when obesity causes narrowing of the blood vessels and high blood pressure.
Decreased blood flow can also damage the cochlea, which accepts sound waves and sends nerve impulses to the brain so you can discern what you’re hearing. Injury to the cochlea and the surrounding 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 less chance of experiencing hearing loss versus those who exercised least. Decreasing your risk, however, doesn’t mean you have to be a marathon runner. Walking for two or more hours per week resulted in a 15% decreased chance of hearing loss than walking for less than an hour.
Your entire family will benefit from eating better, as your diet can positively impact your hearing beyond the benefits gained from weight loss. If you have a child or grandchild in your family who is overweight, discuss steps your family can take to promote a healthier lifestyle. You can incorporate this routine into family get-togethers where you all will do exercises that are fun for kids. They may do the exercises on their own if they enjoy them enough.
If you suspect you are experiencing hearing loss, talk to a hearing specialist to discover whether it is linked to your weight. Weight loss stimulates better hearing and help is available. Your hearing specialist will determine your level of hearing loss and suggest the best strategy. If needed, your primary care physician will recommend a diet and exercise routine that best suit your personal needs.