Everybody knows that exercising and keeping yourself in shape is good for your overall health but you may not realize that losing weight is also good for your 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. It will be easier to make healthy hearing decisions for you and your whole family if you understand these relationships.
Obesity And Adult Hearing
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 assesses the relationship between height and body fat, with a higher number meaning higher body fat. Of the 68,000 women who took part in the study, the level of hearing loss increased as BMI increased. The heaviest people in the study had a 25% higher instance of hearing loss.
Another dependable indicator of hearing impairment, in this study, was waist size. Women with bigger waist sizes had a higher risk of hearing loss, and the risk got higher as waist sizes increased. Lastly, participants who took part in frequent physical activity had a decreased incidence of hearing loss.
Children’s Hearing And Obesity
Research conducted by Columbia University’s Medical Center demonstrated that obese teenagers had nearly twice the risk of experiencing hearing loss in one ear when compared to non-obese teenagers. Sensorineural hearing loss, which happens when the sensitive hair cells in the inner ear are damaged, was common in these children. This damage resulted in a diminished ability to hear sounds at low frequencies, which makes it hard 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 issue. If the issue isn’t addressed, there is a risk the hearing loss might get worse when they become adults.
What is The Connection?
Researchers think that the connection between obesity and hearing loss and tinnitus lies in the health symptoms linked to obesity. Poor circulation, diabetes, and high blood pressure are some of the health problems related to obesity and linked to hearing loss.
The inner ear’s workings are very sensitive – comprised of a series of little capillaries, nerve cells, and other fragile parts that must remain healthy to work effectively and in unison. It’s crucial to have strong blood flow. High blood pressure and the constricting of blood vessels brought about by obesity can obstruct 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 harmed if it doesn’t receive optimal blood flow. Damage 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 less chance of developing hearing loss compared to those who exercised least. You don’t need to run a marathon to reduce your risk, however. The simple routine of walking for at least two hours per week can decrease your risk of hearing loss by 15%.
Beyond losing weight, a better diet will, of itself, improve your hearing which will benefit your entire family. If there is a child in your family who has some extra weight, talk with your family members and develop a program to help them lose some of that weight. You can incorporate this routine 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 suspect you are experiencing hearing loss, speak with a hearing professional to determine whether it is linked to your weight. Better hearing can come from weight loss and there’s help available. This person can conduct a hearing exam to verify your suspicions and advise you on the steps needed to correct your hearing loss symptoms. If needed, your primary care physician will suggest a diet and exercise routine that best suit your individual needs.