Everyone recognizes 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.
Studies have demonstrated that exercising and healthy eating can improve your hearing and that individuals who are overweight have an increased chance of experiencing hearing loss. It will be easier to make healthy hearing choices 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 that women with a high body mass index (BMI) were at a higher danger of having hearing loss. BMI assesses the relationship between height and body fat, with a higher number meaning higher body fat. Of the 68,000 women who participated in the study, the level of hearing loss increased as BMI increased. 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. With women, as the waist size gets bigger, the risk of hearing loss also increases. And finally, incidents of hearing loss were lower in individuals who engaged in frequent physical activity.
Obesity And Children’s Hearing
A study on obese versus non-obese teenagers, carried out 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 experienced sensorineural hearing loss, which is a result of damage to sensitive hair cells in the inner ear that convey sound. This damage makes it hard to hear what people are saying in a noisy setting such as a classroom because it diminishes the ability to hear lower frequencies.
Children frequently don’t detect they have a hearing problem so when they have hearing loss it’s especially worrisome. If the issue isn’t dealt with, there is a possibility the hearing loss might worsen 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 issues. Poor circulation, diabetes, and high blood pressure are all tied to hearing loss and are frequently the result of obesity.
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 effectively and in unison. Good blood flow is crucial. This process can be hampered when obesity causes constricting of the blood vessels and high blood pressure.
Decreased blood flow can also damage the cochlea, which accepts vibrations and transmits nerve impulses to the brain so you can recognize what you’re hearing. Injury to the cochlea and the adjoining 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 less risk of developing hearing loss versus those who exercised least. You don’t have to run a marathon to decrease your risk, however. Walking for two or more hours per week resulted in a 15% reduced 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 advantages gained through weight loss. 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 shed some pounds. You can incorporate this routine into family get-togethers where you all will do exercises that are fun for kids. They may like the exercises so much they will do them on their own!
Talk to a hearing specialist to determine if any hearing loss you may be experiencing is associated with your weight. Weight loss stimulates better hearing and help is available. Your hearing professional will determine 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.