There are plenty of health reasons to keep in shape, but did you realize weight loss promotes better hearing?
Research indicates children and adults who are overweight are more likely to experience hearing loss and that eating healthy and exercising can help support your hearing. It will be easier to make healthy hearing decisions for you and your whole family if you understand these associations.
Adult Hearing And Obesity
A Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s study showed women with a high body mass index (BMI) were at an increased danger of experiencing hearing loss. BMI calculates the connection between body fat and height, with a higher number indicating higher body fat. The higher the BMI of the 68,000 women in the study, the higher their hearing loss frequency. The participants who were the most overweight were up to 25 % more likely to have hearing loss!
In this study, waist size also ended up being a reliable indicator of hearing impairment. With women, as the waist size increases, the risk of hearing loss also increases. Lastly, participants who took part in frequent physical activity had a reduced incidence of hearing loss.
Children’s Hearing And Obesity
A study by Columbia University’s Medical Center revealed that obese teenagers had nearly double the risk of experiencing hearing loss in one ear than non-obese teenagers. Sensorineural hearing loss, which occurs when the sensitive hair cells in the inner ear are damaged, was common in these children. This damage resulted in a decreased ability to hear sounds at low frequencies, which makes it hard to understand what people are saying in crowded settings, like classrooms.
Children often don’t detect they have a hearing problem so when they have hearing loss it’s particularly worrisome. If the issue isn’t addressed, there is a danger the hearing loss may worsen when they become adults.
What is The Connection?
Researchers suspect 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 all linked to hearing loss and are frequently the result of obesity.
The sensitive inner ear contains various delicate parts including nerve cells, little capillaries, and other parts that will quit working efficiently if they aren’t kept healthy. It’s essential to have strong blood flow. High blood pressure and the narrowing of blood vessels caused by obesity can impede this process.
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. Injury to the cochlea and the surrounding nerve cells usually can’t be reversed.
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 compared to women who didn’t. You don’t need to run a marathon to reduce your risk, however. Walking for two or more hours per week resulted in a 15% lower risk of hearing loss than walking for under an hour.
Your whole family will benefit from eating better, as your diet can positively affect 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 routine to help them lose some of that weight. You can incorporate this program into family gatherings where you all will do exercises that are fun for kids. They may do the exercises on their own if they like them enough.
If you think you are experiencing hearing loss, talk to a hearing specialist to determine whether it is linked to your weight. Better hearing can come from weight loss and there’s help available. This person can perform a hearing exam to confirm your suspicions and advise you on the steps necessary to deal with your hearing loss symptoms. A program of exercise and diet can be suggested by your primary care doctor if needed.