Everyone knows that exercising and keeping yourself in shape is good for your general 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. It will be easier to make healthy hearing decisions for you and your whole family if you know about these associations.
Adult Hearing And Obesity
A Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s study demonstrated women with a high body mass index (BMI) were at an increased risk of having hearing loss. The relationship 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 loss amount. The heaviest individuals in the study had a 25% greater instance of hearing loss.
Another reliable indicator of hearing loss, in this study, was waist size. 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, conducted by Columbia University Medical Center, concluded that obese teenagers were twice as likely to develop hearing loss in one ear than teenagers who weren’t obese. Sensorineural hearing loss, which occurs when the sensitive hair cells in the inner ear are damaged, was common in these children. This damage resulted in 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 usually don’t realize they have a hearing problem so when they have hearing loss it’s particularly worrisome. If the issue isn’t dealt with, there is a possibility the hearing loss could get worse when they become adults.
What is The Connection?
Researchers surmise that the connection between obesity and hearing loss and tinnitus lies in the health symptoms linked to obesity. High blood pressure, diabetes, and poor circulation are all linked to hearing loss and are frequently the result of obesity.
The inner ear’s workings are very sensitive – composed of a series of little capillaries, nerve cells, and other fragile parts that must stay healthy to work correctly and in unison. It’s crucial to have strong blood flow. This process can be hampered 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 translation. The cochlea can be damaged if it doesn’t get the proper blood flow. Damage to the cochlea and the surrounding nerve cells can rarely be undone.
Is There Anything You Can do?
Women in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital study who exercised the most had a 17 percent decreased risk of experiencing hearing loss compared to those who exercised least. You don’t have to run a marathon to reduce your risk, however. Walking for two or more hours each week resulted in a 15 percent lower risk of hearing loss than walking for less than an hour.
Beyond losing weight, a better diet will, of itself, help your hearing which will benefit your entire 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 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 might do the exercises on their own if they enjoy them enough.
If you think you are experiencing hearing loss, consult a hearing professional to discover whether it is linked to your weight. Weight loss stimulates better hearing and help is available. This individual can conduct a hearing exam to confirm your suspicions and advise you on the measures necessary to deal with your hearing loss symptoms. A regimen of exercise and diet can be recommended by your primary care physician if necessary.