Everybody recognizes 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 healthy eating can improve 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.
Obesity And Adult Hearing
Women had a higher risk of developing hearing loss, according to a study done by Brigham And Women’s Hospital, if they have a high body mass index (BMI). 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 participated in the study, the level of hearing loss increased as BMI increased. The heaviest individuals in the study had a 25% higher instance of 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 increases, the chance of hearing loss also increases. As a final point, participants who took part in frequent physical activity had a decreased incidence of hearing loss.
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. These children experienced sensorineural hearing loss, which is caused by damage to sensitive hair cells in the inner ear that convey sound. This damage led to a diminished ability to hear sounds at low frequencies, which makes it hard to hear what people are saying in crowded settings, like classrooms.
Children often don’t notice they have a hearing problem so when they have hearing loss it’s especially 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 associated with several health issues and researchers suspect that its connection with hearing loss and tinnitus lies with these health problems. Poor circulation, diabetes, and high blood pressure are all tied to hearing loss and are frequently caused by obesity.
The sensitive inner ear contains various delicate parts including nerve cells, little capillaries, and other parts which will quit working efficiently if they aren’t kept healthy. It’s essential to have strong blood flow. This process can be hindered when obesity causes constricting of the blood vessels and high blood pressure.
Decreased blood flow can also damage the cochlea, which receives vibrations and sends nerve impulses to the brain so you can discern what you’re hearing. Damage to the cochlea and the surrounding nerve cells usually can’t be reversed.
Is There Anything You Can do?
Women who remained healthy and exercised regularly, according to a Brigham and Women’s Hospital study, had a 17% lowered likelihood of getting hearing loss versus women who didn’t. Reducing your risk, however, doesn’t mean you have to be a marathon runner. The simple routine of walking for at least two hours every week can lower your risk of hearing loss by 15%.
Your entire family will benefit from eating better, as your diet can positively impact your hearing beyond the benefits gained through weight loss. If there is a child in your family who has some extra weight, get together with your family members and develop a routine to help them lose some of that weight. You can work this program into family get-togethers where you all will do exercises that are fun for kids. They may enjoy the exercises so much they will do them on their own!
If you think you are experiencing hearing loss, talk to a hearing professional to discover whether it is related to your weight. Weight loss promotes better hearing and help is available. Your hearing specialist will identify your level of hearing loss and advise you on the best strategy. If necessary, your primary care physician will suggest a diet and exercise routine that best suit your personal needs.