There are plenty of health reasons to stay in shape, but did you know weight loss supports better hearing?
Research indicates 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. Knowing 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 revealed women with a high body mass index (BMI) were at an increased danger of having hearing loss. BMI measures the relationship between body fat and height, with a higher number signifying higher body fat. The higher the BMI of the 68,000 women in the study, the higher their hearing impairment amount. The heaviest individuals in the study had a 25% higher instance of hearing loss.
Another dependable indicator of hearing impairment, in this study, was waist size. Women with larger waist sizes had a higher chance of hearing loss, and the risk got higher as waist sizes increased. As a final point, participants who engaged in frequent physical activity had a lower incidence of hearing loss.
Children’s Hearing And Obesity
A study on obese versus non-obese teenagers, performed by Columbia University Medical Center, determined that obese teenagers were twice as likely to experience hearing loss in one ear than teenagers who weren’t obese. These children suffered sensorineural hearing loss, which is a result of damage to sensitive hair cells in the inner ear that carry sound. This damage resulted in a diminished ability to hear sounds at low frequencies, which makes it difficult to hear what people are saying in crowded settings, such as classrooms.
Children usually don’t recognize they have a hearing issue so when they have hearing loss it’s especially worrisome. If the issue isn’t dealt with, there is a risk the hearing loss may get worse when they become adults.
What is The Connection?
Obesity is associated with several health problems and researchers believe that its connection with hearing loss and tinnitus lies with these health issues. High blood pressure, poor circulation, and diabetes are some of the health problems caused by obesity and linked to hearing loss.
The inner ear’s workings are very sensitive – comprised of a series of small capillaries, nerve cells, and other delicate parts that need to stay healthy to work properly and in unison. Good blood flow is essential. 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 interpretation. The cochlea can be harmed if it doesn’t get the proper blood flow. If the cochlea is damaged, it’s normally irreversible.
What Should You do?
Women in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital study who exercised the most had a 17 percent less risk of developing hearing loss versus those who exercised least. You don’t need to run a marathon to reduce your risk, however. Walking for a couple of hours every week resulted in a 15% lower risk of hearing loss than walking for less than an hour.
Your entire family will benefit from eating better, as your diet can positively affect your hearing beyond the benefits gained from weight loss. If you have a child or grandchild in your family who is overweight, talk about steps your family can take to encourage a healthier lifestyle. You can teach them exercises that are enjoyable for children and incorporate them into family gatherings. 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 specialist to determine whether it is linked to your weight. Weight loss stimulates better hearing and help is available. Your hearing specialist will determine your level of hearing loss and advise you on the best strategy. A program of exercise and diet can be recommended by your primary care doctor if necessary.