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Woman weighing herself and realizing her weight affects her hearing health.

Everybody knows 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.

Studies have established that exercising and eating healthy can reinforce your hearing and that individuals who are overweight have an increased chance of developing hearing loss. Understanding more about these relationships can help you make healthy hearing choices for you and your family.

Adult Hearing And Obesity

Women had a higher risk of developing hearing loss, according to research done by Brigham And Women’s Hospital, if they have a high body mass index (BMI). BMI measures the relationship between body fat and height, 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 individuals in the study had a 25% higher instance of hearing loss.

In this study, waist size also turned out to be a dependable indicator of hearing loss. Women with larger waist sizes had a higher risk of hearing loss, and the risk got higher as waist sizes increased. As a final point, participants who took part in frequent physical activity had a decreased incidence of hearing loss.

Children’s Hearing And Obesity

A study on obese versus non-obese teenagers, conducted by Columbia University Medical Center, concluded that obese teenagers were twice as likely to experience hearing loss in one ear than teenagers who weren’t obese. Sensorineural hearing loss, which happens when the delicate hair cells in the inner ear are damaged, was common in these children. This damage resulted in a decreased ability to hear sounds at low frequencies, which makes it difficult to hear what people are saying in crowded settings, such as classrooms.

Hearing loss in children is especially worrisome because kids often don’t realize they have a hearing issue. If the problem isn’t dealt with, there is a risk the hearing loss might worsen when they become adults.

What is The Connection?

Researchers surmise that the connection between obesity and hearing loss and tinnitus lies in the health symptoms related to obesity. Poor circulation, diabetes, and high blood pressure are all linked to hearing loss and are often caused by obesity.

The inner ear’s workings are very sensitive – consisting of a series of little capillaries, nerve cells, and other delicate parts that need to remain healthy to work effectively and in unison. It’s crucial to have strong blood flow. This process can be hampered when obesity causes constricting of the blood vessels and high blood pressure.

The cochlea is a part of the inner ear which receives sound vibrations and transmits them to the brain for interpretation. The cochlea can be damaged if it doesn’t get adequate blood flow. Injury 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 decreased risk of experiencing hearing loss versus those who exercised least. You don’t need to run a marathon to decrease your risk, however. The simple routine of walking for at least two hours each week can decrease your risk of hearing loss by 15%.

Your entire family will benefit from eating better, as your diet can positively affect 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 show them exercises that are enjoyable for children and incorporate them into family get-togethers. They might do the exercises on their own if they like them enough.

If you suspect you are experiencing hearing loss, speak with a hearing professional to discover whether it is linked to your weight. Weight loss stimulates better hearing and help is available. Your hearing specialist will identify your level of hearing loss and suggest the best course of action. If needed, your primary care physician will suggest a diet and exercise program that best suit your individual needs.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.