There are plenty of health reasons to remain in shape, but did you know weight loss promotes better hearing?
Studies have established that exercising and eating healthy can reinforce your hearing and that individuals who are overweight have an increased risk of getting hearing loss. It will be easier to make healthy hearing choices for you and your whole family if you understand these associations.
Obesity And Adult Hearing
Women are more likely to experience hearing loss, according to research done 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!
Another reliable indicator of hearing loss, in this study, was waist size. Women with larger waist sizes had a higher chance of hearing loss, and the risk got higher as waist sizes increased. Lastly, participants who engaged in regular physical activity had a lower incidence of hearing loss.
Children’s Hearing And Obesity
A study on obese versus non-obese teenagers, performed 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 occurs 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 understand what people are saying in crowded places, such as classrooms.
Hearing loss in children is particularly worrisome because kids frequently don’t recognize they have a hearing problem. There will be an increasing danger that the issue will get worse as they become an adult if it’s not treated.
What is The Connection?
Obesity is related to several health problems and researchers believe that its connection with hearing loss and tinnitus lies with these health issues. High blood pressure, diabetes, and poor circulation are some of the health problems caused by obesity and tied to hearing loss.
The sensitive inner ear is made up of numerous delicate parts including nerve cells, little capillaries, and other parts that will stop working correctly if they aren’t kept healthy. 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.
Reduced blood flow can also damage the cochlea, which receives sound waves and transmits nerve impulses to the brain so you can distinguish what you’re hearing. Injury to the cochlea and the adjoining nerve cells can rarely be undone.
What Should You do?
Women in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital study who exercised the most had a 17 percent decreased chance of developing hearing loss in comparison with those who exercised least. Lessening your risk, however, doesn’t mean you need to be a marathon runner. The simple routine of walking for at least two hours each week can decrease your chance of hearing loss by 15%.
Beyond weight loss, a better diet will, of itself, improve your hearing which will benefit your entire family. If you have a child or grandchild in your family who is overweight, discuss steps your family can take to encourage a healthier lifestyle. You can incorporate this program into family get-togethers where you all will do exercises that are fun for kids. They may like the exercises so much they will do them on their own!
If you believe you are experiencing hearing loss, speak with a hearing professional to determine whether it is related to your weight. Better hearing can be the result of weight loss and there’s help available. Your hearing specialist will identify your level of hearing loss and advise you on the best course of action. If needed, your primary care doctor will recommend a diet and exercise routine that best suit your personal needs.