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 eating healthy can improve your hearing and that people who are overweight have a higher risk of getting hearing loss. Learning more about these associations can help you make healthy hearing choices for you and your family.
Adult Hearing And Obesity
A Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s study demonstrated women with a high body mass index (BMI) were at an increased risk of having hearing loss. BMI measures the connection between body fat and height, with a higher number indicating 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!
In this study, waist size also turned out to be a reliable indicator of hearing impairment. With women, as the waist size increases, the chance of hearing loss also increases. As a final point, participants who engaged in regular physical activity had a decreased incidence of hearing loss.
Obesity And Children’s Hearing
Research conducted by Columbia University’s Medical Center confirmed that obese teenagers had nearly twice the risk of experiencing hearing loss in one ear than non-obese teenagers. Sensorineural hearing loss, which happens when the delicate hair cells in the inner ear are damaged, was common in these children. This damage led to a diminished ability to hear sounds at low frequencies, which makes it difficult to understand what people are saying in crowded settings, like classrooms.
Hearing loss in children is especially worrisome because kids often don’t recognize they have a hearing issue. If the problem isn’t dealt with, there is a possibility the hearing loss could worsen when they become adults.
What is The Connection?
Obesity is related to several health issues and researchers suspect that its connection with hearing loss and tinnitus lies with these health problems. High blood pressure, poor circulation, and diabetes are all tied to hearing loss and are often caused by obesity.
The sensitive inner ear contains various delicate parts such as nerve cells, little capillaries, and other parts which will stop working efficiently if they aren’t kept healthy. It’s crucial to have strong blood flow. This process can be hindered when obesity causes narrowing of the blood vessels and high blood pressure.
The cochlea is a part of the inner ear that receives sound vibrations and delivers them to the brain for translation. The cochlea can be harmed if it doesn’t get the proper blood flow. Damage to the cochlea and the surrounding nerve cells can rarely be undone.
What Should You do?
Women who stayed healthy and exercised frequently, according to a Brigham and Women’s Hospital study, had a 17% lowered likelihood of developing hearing loss in comparison with women who didn’t. Lowering your risk, however, doesn’t mean you have to be a marathon runner. Walking for two or more hours each week resulted in a 15% reduced chance of hearing loss than walking for less than an hour.
Your entire family will benefit from a better diet, 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, talk with your family members and develop a program to help them lose some of that weight. You can show them exercises that are enjoyable for kids and incorporate them into family get-togethers. They might do the exercises on their own if they like them enough.
If you think you are experiencing hearing loss, speak with a hearing professional to determine whether it is linked to your weight. Weight loss promotes better hearing and help is available. This person can conduct a hearing exam to verify your suspicions and advise you on the measures needed to deal with your hearing loss symptoms. If needed, your primary care physician will suggest a diet and exercise program that best suit your individual needs.