There are lots of health reasons to stay in shape, but did you realize weight loss supports improved hearing?
Studies have demonstrated that exercising and healthy eating can improve your hearing and that individuals who are overweight have a higher risk of experiencing hearing loss. It will be easier to make healthy hearing decisions for you and your whole family if you learn about 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 risk of experiencing hearing loss. BMI calculates the relationship between body fat and height, with a higher number meaning higher body fat. The higher the BMI of the 68,000 women in the study, the higher their hearing impairment incidence. The heaviest people in the study had a 25% greater instance of hearing loss.
Another dependable indicator of hearing loss, in this study, was the size of a person’s waist. Women with bigger waist sizes had a higher chance of hearing loss, and the risk got higher as waist sizes increased. Lastly, participants who engaged in frequent physical activity had a reduced incidence of hearing loss.
Children’s Hearing And Obesity
Research conducted by Columbia University’s Medical Center demonstrated that obese teenagers had about double the risk of experiencing hearing loss in one ear than 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 led to a diminished ability to hear sounds at low frequencies, which makes it difficult to understand what people are saying in crowded places, such as classrooms.
Children frequently don’t recognize they have a hearing problem so when they have hearing loss it’s especially 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 associated with several health issues and researchers suspect that its connection with hearing loss and tinnitus lies with these health issues. Poor circulation, diabetes, and high blood pressure are all linked to hearing loss and are frequently caused by obesity.
The inner ear’s anatomy is 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. It’s essential to have strong blood flow. This process can be hindered 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 interpretation. The cochlea can be harmed if it doesn’t get adequate blood flow. Damage 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 versus women who didn’t. Reducing your risk, however, doesn’t mean you have to be a marathon runner. Walking for a couple of hours each week resulted in a 15% lower risk 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 put together a routine to help them lose some of that weight. You can incorporate this routine into family get-togethers where you all will do exercises that are fun for kids. They may do the exercises on their own if they enjoy them enough.
Talk to a hearing professional to find out if any hearing loss you might be experiencing is related to your weight. Better hearing can come from weight loss and there’s help available. This person can conduct a hearing test to verify your suspicions and advise you on the measures needed to correct your hearing loss symptoms. A regimen of exercise and diet can be recommended by your primary care physician if needed.