Everybody 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 fortify your hearing. It will be easier to make healthy hearing choices for you and your whole family if you understand these connections.
Adult Hearing And Obesity
Women are more likely to experience hearing loss, according to research done by Brigham And Women’s Hospital, if they have a high body mass index (BMI). 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 participants who were the most overweight were as much as 25 percent more likely to have hearing impairment!
Another reliable indicator of hearing impairment, in this study, was waist size. With women, as the waist size increases, the chance of hearing loss also increases. And finally, incidents of hearing loss were reduced in people who engaged in regular physical activity.
Children’s Hearing And Obesity
A study on obese versus non-obese teenagers, conducted by Columbia University Medical Center, determined that obese teenagers were twice as likely to develop hearing loss in one ear than teenagers who were not obese. 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 frequently don’t detect they have a hearing problem so when they have hearing loss it’s particularly worrisome. 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 suspect that the connection between obesity and hearing loss and tinnitus is based on 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 – consisting of a series of small capillaries, nerve cells, and other fragile parts that need to stay healthy to work properly and in unison. Good blood flow is crucial. High blood pressure and the narrowing of blood vessels caused by obesity can impede this process.
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 harmed if it doesn’t receive the proper blood flow. Damage to the cochlea and the adjoining nerve cells can rarely be undone.
What Should You do?
Women in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital study who exercised the most had a 17 percent decreased chance of developing hearing loss in comparison with those who exercised least. You don’t need to run a marathon to lower your risk, however. Walking for two or more hours every week resulted in a 15 percent decreased risk of hearing loss than walking for under an hour.
Your whole family will benefit from eating better, as your diet can positively affect your hearing beyond the benefits gained from weight loss. If there is a child in your family who has some extra weight, talk with your family members and put together a routine to help them shed some pounds. You can show them exercises that are fun for children and incorporate them into family get-togethers. They may like the exercises enough to do them on their own!
Talk to a hearing specialist to figure out if any hearing loss you may be experiencing is associated with your weight. Better hearing can come from weight loss and there’s help available. Your hearing specialist will identify your level of hearing loss and advise you on the best plan of action. If necessary, your primary care doctor will recommend a diet and exercise routine that best suit your personal needs.