Everyone knows that exercising and keeping yourself in shape is good for your overall health but you may not realize that losing weight is also good for your 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 support your hearing. Knowing more about these associations can help you make healthy hearing decisions for you and your family.
Adult Hearing And Obesity
Women had a higher risk of developing hearing loss, according to a study carried out by Brigham And Women’s Hospital, if they have a high body mass index (BMI). BMI assesses the relationship between height and body fat, with a higher number indicating higher body fat. Of the 68,000 women who took part in the study, the amount of hearing loss increased as BMI increased. The heaviest individuals 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. With women, as the waist size gets bigger, the risk of hearing loss also increases. And finally, incidents of hearing loss were reduced in individuals who took part in regular physical activity.
Obesity And Children’s Hearing
A study by Columbia University’s Medical Center confirmed that obese teenagers had almost twice the risk of experiencing hearing loss in one ear than non-obese teenagers. 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 like a classroom because it decreases the ability to hear lower frequencies.
Children often don’t notice they have a hearing problem so when they have hearing loss it’s particularly worrisome. If the problem isn’t addressed, there is a possibility the hearing loss may get worse when they become adults.
What is The Connection?
Obesity is related to several health problems and researchers suspect that its connection with hearing loss and tinnitus lies with these health problems. High blood pressure, diabetes, and poor circulation 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 small capillaries, nerve cells, and other delicate parts that must 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 which receives sound vibrations and transmits them to the brain for translation. The cochlea can be harmed if it doesn’t receive the proper blood flow. Damage to the cochlea and the surrounding nerve cells usually can’t be reversed.
Is There Anything You Can do?
Women who remained healthy and exercised frequently, according to a Brigham and Women’s Hospital study, had a 17% lowered likelihood of developing hearing loss in comparison with women who didn’t. You don’t have to run a marathon to reduce your risk, however. The simple routine of walking for at least two hours per week can lower your risk of hearing loss by 15%.
Your whole family will benefit from a better diet, as your diet can positively affect your hearing beyond the advantages gained through weight loss. If you have a child or grandchild in your family who is overweight, discuss steps your family can take to promote a healthier lifestyle. You can work this routine into family get-togethers where you all will do exercises that are fun for kids. They might like the exercises so much they will do them on their own!
If you think you are experiencing hearing loss, talk to a hearing specialist to discover whether it is related to your weight. Weight loss promotes better hearing and help is available. Your hearing specialist will identify your level of hearing loss and advise you on the best strategy. A program of exercise and diet can be suggested by your primary care physician if needed.