How Your Weight Impacts Your Hearing

Woman weighing herself and realizing her weight affects her hearing health.

Everyone recognizes 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 healthy eating and exercising can help strengthen your hearing. Knowing more about these relationships can help you make healthy hearing choices for you and your family.

Obesity And Adult Hearing

A Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s study showed that women with a high body mass index (BMI) were at a higher risk of experiencing hearing loss. The connection between body fat and height is what BMI measures. The higher the number the higher the body fat. Of the 68,000 women who took part in the study, the degree of hearing loss increased as BMI increased. The heaviest individuals in the study had a 25% greater instance of hearing loss.

Another reliable indicator of hearing impairment, in this study, was the size of a person’s waist. With women, as the waist size increases, the risk of hearing loss also increases. Lastly, participants who took part in regular physical activity had a reduced incidence of hearing loss.

Children’s Hearing And Obesity

A study on obese versus non-obese teenagers, carried out by Columbia University Medical Center, concluded that obese teenagers were twice as likely to develop hearing loss in one ear than teenagers who were not obese. Sensorineural hearing loss, which develops when the sensitive 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 noisy setting like a classroom because it decreases the ability to hear lower frequencies.

Hearing loss in children is particularly worrisome because kids frequently don’t realize they have a hearing issue. There will be an increasing danger that the problem will get worse as they become an adult if it goes unaddressed.

What is The Connection?

Researchers think that the connection between obesity and hearing loss and tinnitus is based on the health symptoms related to obesity. High blood pressure, diabetes, and poor circulation are all tied to hearing loss and are frequently the result of obesity.

The sensitive inner ear contains various delicate parts including nerve cells, little capillaries, and other parts that will quit working properly if they are not kept healthy. Good blood flow is essential. 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. Injury to the cochlea and the adjoining nerve cells can rarely be undone.

What Should You 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 versus women who didn’t. You don’t have to run a marathon to lower your risk, however. Walking for two or more hours every week resulted in a 15% reduced chance of hearing loss than walking for less than an hour.

Your whole family will benefit from eating better, as your diet can positively affect your hearing beyond the advantages gained from 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 teach them exercises that are fun for children and incorporate them into family get-togethers. They might enjoy the exercises enough to do them on their own!

Consult a hearing professional to find out if any hearing loss you may be experiencing is associated with your weight. Weight loss promotes better hearing and help is available. This person can perform a hearing test to confirm your suspicions and advise you on the measures needed to correct your hearing loss symptoms. If needed, your primary care doctor will recommend a diet and exercise routine that best suit your individual needs.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive a personalized free hearing test and hearing loss consultation, call today to set up an appointment.