There are plenty of health reasons to stay in shape, but did you know weight loss promotes better hearing?
Research reveals children and adults who are overweight are more likely to experience hearing loss and that healthy eating and exercising can help strengthen your hearing. Understanding more about these relationships can help you make healthy hearing decisions for you and your family.
Adult Hearing And Obesity
A Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s study demonstrated that women with a high body mass index (BMI) were at a higher risk of experiencing hearing loss. The relationship between height and body fat is what BMI measures. The higher the number the higher the body fat. Of the 68,000 women who took part in the study, the level of hearing loss increased as BMI increased. The participants who were the most overweight were as much as 25 percent more likely to experience hearing loss!
Another reliable indicator of hearing impairment, in this study, was the size of a person’s waist. With women, as the waist size gets bigger, the risk of hearing loss also increases. Lastly, participants who engaged in regular physical activity had a reduced incidence of hearing loss.
Obesity And Children’s Hearing
A study by Columbia University’s Medical Center demonstrated that obese teenagers had about twice the risk of developing hearing loss in one ear when compared to non-obese teenagers. These children suffered sensorineural hearing loss, which is a result of damage to sensitive hair cells in the inner ear that convey sound. This damage makes it difficult to hear what people are saying in a loud setting such as a classroom because it decreases the ability to hear lower frequencies.
Children usually don’t realize they have a hearing issue so when they have hearing loss it’s particularly worrisome. 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 issues and researchers think that its connection with hearing loss and tinnitus lies with these health issues. High blood pressure, poor circulation, and diabetes are all tied to hearing loss and are often the result of obesity.
The inner ear’s workings are very sensitive – consisting of a series of little capillaries, nerve cells, and other fragile parts that must stay healthy to work effectively and in unison. It’s crucial to have strong blood flow. This process can be hindered 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 sends them to the brain for interpretation. The cochlea can be damaged if it doesn’t receive the proper blood flow. Damage to the cochlea and the surrounding nerve cells can rarely be undone.
Is There Anything You Can do?
Women in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital study who exercised the most had a 17 percent lower chance of experiencing hearing loss versus those who exercised least. Lowering your risk, however, doesn’t mean you need to be a marathon runner. The simple act of walking for at least two hours every 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 whole family. If you have a child or grandchild in your family who is overweight, talk about 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 might do the exercises on their own if they enjoy them enough.
If you believe you are experiencing hearing loss, speak with us to determine whether it is linked to your weight. Weight loss stimulates better hearing and help is available. We will determine your level of hearing loss and suggest the best course of action. If needed, your primary care physician will recommend a diet and exercise program that best suit your personal needs.