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Woman weighing herself and realizing her weight affects her hearing health.

There are plenty of health reasons to stay in shape, but did you realize weight loss supports improved hearing?

Studies have established that exercising and eating healthy can improve your hearing and that individuals who are overweight have a higher chance of dealing with hearing loss. It will be easier to make healthy hearing choices for you and your whole family if you know about these relationships.

Obesity And Adult Hearing

Women had a higher risk of developing hearing loss, according to research done by Brigham And Women’s Hospital, if they have a high body mass index (BMI). The connection between body fat and height is what BMI measures. The higher the number the higher the body fat. The higher the BMI of the 68,000 women in the study, the higher their hearing loss incidence. The heaviest people in the study had a 25% higher instance of hearing loss.

In this study, waist size also ended up being a reliable indicator of hearing loss. Women with larger waist sizes had a higher risk of hearing loss, and the risk increased as waist sizes increased. Lastly, participants who engaged in frequent physical activity had a lower incidence of hearing loss.

Children’s Hearing And Obesity

A study by Columbia University’s Medical Center revealed that obese teenagers had about twice the risk of experiencing 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 hard to hear what people are saying in a noisy setting like a classroom because it decreases the ability to hear lower frequencies.

Children frequently don’t notice they have a hearing issue so when they have hearing loss it’s particularly worrisome. There will be an increasing risk that the problem will get worse as they become an adult if it goes unaddressed.

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 problems. High blood pressure, poor circulation, and diabetes are some of the health problems related to obesity and tied to hearing loss.

The inner ear’s anatomy is very sensitive – consisting of a series of little capillaries, nerve cells, and other fragile parts that have to remain healthy to work properly and in unison. It’s crucial to have strong blood flow. High blood pressure and the narrowing of blood vessels brought about by obesity can impede this process.

The cochlea is a part of the inner ear that receives sound vibrations and transmits them to the brain for interpretation. The cochlea can be damaged if it doesn’t get optimal blood flow. Damage to the cochlea and the surrounding 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 less risk of experiencing hearing loss versus those who exercised least. You don’t have to run a marathon to reduce your risk, however. The simple routine of walking for at least two hours each week can reduce your chance of hearing loss by 15%.

Beyond losing weight, a better diet will, of itself, improve your hearing which will benefit your whole family. 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 show them exercises that are fun for children and work them into family get-togethers. They may do the exercises on their own if they like them enough.

If you believe you are experiencing hearing loss, consult a hearing specialist to discover whether it is related to your weight. Weight loss stimulates better hearing and help is available. This person can do 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 program that best suit your personal needs.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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