There are plenty of health reasons to keep in shape, but did you know weight loss promotes improved hearing?
Studies have established that exercising and eating healthy can improve your hearing and that individuals who are overweight have a higher chance of getting hearing loss. Learning more about these connections can help you make healthy hearing choices for you and your family.
Obesity And Adult Hearing
A Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s study demonstrated women with a high body mass index (BMI) were at a higher danger of experiencing hearing loss. BMI assesses the relationship between body fat and height, with a higher number signifying higher body fat. Of the 68,000 women who participated in the study, the level 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 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 lower in people who took part in frequent physical activity.
Children’s Hearing And Obesity
A study by Columbia University’s Medical Center demonstrated that obese teenagers had about twice the risk of experiencing hearing loss in one ear when compared to non-obese teenagers. These children suffered sensorineural hearing loss, which is a result of damage to sensitive hair cells in the inner ear that carry sound. This damage makes it hard to hear what people are saying in a noisy setting such as a classroom because it decreases the ability to hear lower frequencies.
Hearing loss in children is especially worrisome because kids often don’t realize they have a hearing problem. If the issue isn’t dealt with, there is a danger 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 related to obesity. High blood pressure, poor circulation, and diabetes are all tied to hearing loss and are frequently the result of obesity.
The inner ear’s anatomy is very sensitive – consisting of a series of small capillaries, nerve cells, and other fragile parts that need to remain healthy to work effectively and in unison. It’s essential to have strong blood flow. This process can be hampered 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 transmits 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 adjoining nerve cells usually can’t be reversed.
Is There Anything You Can do?
Women in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital study who exercised the most had a 17 percent lower risk of developing hearing loss in comparison with those who exercised least. You don’t need to run a marathon to decrease your risk, however. The simple act of walking for at least two hours per week can decrease your risk of hearing loss by 15%.
Beyond weight loss, a better diet will, of itself, help your hearing which will benefit your entire family. If you have a child or grandchild in your family who is overweight, talk about steps your family can take to promote a healthier lifestyle. You can work this program into family get-togethers where you all will do exercises that are fun for kids. They might enjoy the exercises so much they will do them on their own!
Talk to a hearing specialist to find out if any hearing loss you might be experiencing is associated with your weight. Weight loss stimulates better hearing and help is available. This individual can conduct a hearing test to confirm your suspicions and advise you on the measures needed to correct your hearing loss symptoms. If necessary, your primary care doctor will suggest a diet and exercise routine that best suit your individual needs.