Everyone knows that exercising and keeping yourself in shape is good for your overall health but you may not know that losing weight is also good for your hearing.
Research shows children and adults who are overweight are more likely to cope with hearing loss and that eating healthy and exercising can help fortify 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 an increased risk of having hearing loss. 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 impairment frequency. The heaviest individuals in the study had a 25% higher instance of hearing loss.
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. And finally, incidents of hearing loss were lower in people who took part in frequent physical activity.
Children’s Hearing And Obesity
A study on obese versus non-obese teenagers, carried out by Columbia University Medical Center, concluded that obese teenagers were twice as likely to develop hearing loss in one ear than teenagers who were not obese. Sensorineural hearing loss, which occurs when the delicate hair cells in the inner ear are damaged, was common in these children. 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.
Hearing loss in children is especially worrisome because kids often don’t recognize they have a hearing problem. If the problem isn’t dealt with, there is a danger the hearing loss might get worse when they become adults.
What is The Connection?
Obesity is related to several health problems and researchers think that its connection with hearing loss and tinnitus lies with these health issues. Poor circulation, diabetes, and high blood pressure are some of the health issues caused by obesity and linked to hearing loss.
The sensitive inner ear contains various delicate parts such as nerve cells, small capillaries, and other parts which will stop working properly if they are not kept healthy. Good blood flow is crucial. This process can be hampered when obesity causes constricting 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 damaged if it doesn’t receive the proper blood flow. If the cochlea is damaged, it’s normally permanent.
Is There Anything You Can do?
Women in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital study who exercised the most had a 17 percent decreased chance of developing hearing loss versus those who exercised least. Decreasing your risk, however, doesn’t mean you have to be a marathon runner. The simple act of walking for at least two hours each week can decrease your risk of hearing loss by 15%.
Beyond losing weight, a better diet will, of itself, help 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 put together a program to help them shed some pounds. You can show them exercises that are enjoyable for children and work them into family get-togethers. They may enjoy the exercises so much they will do them on their own!
Talk to a hearing professional to determine if any hearing loss you may be experiencing is associated with your weight. Weight loss promotes better hearing and help is available. This individual can perform a hearing test to confirm your suspicions and advise you on the steps needed to deal with your hearing loss symptoms. If necessary, your primary care doctor will recommend a diet and exercise program that best suit your personal needs.