Everybody knows that exercising and keeping yourself in shape is good for your overall health but you might not know that losing weight is also good for your hearing.
Research reveals children and adults who are overweight are more likely to experience hearing loss and that eating healthy and exercising can help fortify your hearing. It will be easier to make healthy hearing choices for you and your whole family if you learn about these connections.
Adult Hearing And Obesity
Women are more likely to experience hearing loss, according to research carried out by Brigham And Women’s Hospital, if they have a high body mass index (BMI). The connection between height and body fat is what BMI measures. The higher the number the higher the body fat. Of the 68,000 women who participated in the study, the level of hearing loss increased as BMI increased. The participants who were the most overweight were as much as 25 percent more likely to have hearing impairment!
In this study, waist size also ended up being a dependable indicator of hearing loss. With women, as the waist size increases, the risk of hearing loss also increases. And finally, incidents of hearing loss were decreased in individuals who engaged in frequent physical activity.
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 develop hearing loss in one ear than teenagers who weren’t obese. These children suffered sensorineural hearing loss, which is caused by 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 hard to understand what people are saying in crowded settings, like classrooms.
Children often don’t recognize they have a hearing problem so when they have hearing loss it’s particularly worrisome. There will be an increasing risk that the issue will get worse as they become an adult if it goes unaddressed.
What is The Connection?
Obesity is related to several health issues and researchers believe that its connection with hearing loss and tinnitus lies with these health problems. Poor circulation, diabetes, and high blood pressure are some of the health issues caused by obesity and linked to hearing loss.
The inner ear’s anatomy is very sensitive – comprised of a series of small capillaries, nerve cells, and other fragile parts that must remain healthy to work properly and in unison. It’s essential to have strong blood flow. 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 which receives sound vibrations and sends them to the brain for interpretation. The cochlea can be damaged if it doesn’t get adequate blood flow. Injury to the cochlea and the surrounding nerve cells usually can’t be reversed.
What Should You do?
Women who remained healthy and exercised regularly, according to a Brigham and Women’s Hospital study, had a 17% lowered likelihood of developing hearing loss versus women who didn’t. You don’t have to run a marathon to lower your risk, however. The simple routine of walking for at least two hours per week can reduce your risk of hearing loss by 15%.
Your entire family will benefit from a better diet, as your diet can positively affect your hearing beyond the advantages gained from weight loss. If there is a child in your family who has some extra weight, get together with your family members and develop a routine to help them shed some pounds. You can teach them exercises that are fun for children and work them into family get-togethers. They may do the exercises on their own if they like them enough.
Consult a hearing specialist to figure out if any hearing loss you may be experiencing is related to your weight. Better hearing can come from weight loss and there’s help available. Your hearing specialist will determine your level of hearing loss and suggest the best course of action. A regimen of exercise and diet can be suggested by your primary care doctor if necessary.