Audiology Associates of North Florida - Tallahassee, FL

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

There are lots of health reasons to keep in shape, but did you realize weight loss promotes better hearing?

Studies have established that exercising and healthy eating can improve your hearing and that people who are overweight have an increased risk of experiencing hearing loss. It will be easier to make healthy hearing choices for you and your whole family if you understand these connections.

Obesity And Adult Hearing

A Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s study demonstrated that women with a high body mass index (BMI) were at an increased risk of experiencing 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 impairment incidence. The heaviest people in the study had a 25% higher instance of hearing loss.

Another dependable indicator of hearing impairment, 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 decreased in people who engaged in regular physical activity.

Obesity And Children’s Hearing

Research conducted by Columbia University’s Medical Center confirmed that obese teenagers had almost twice the risk of experiencing hearing loss in one ear than non-obese teenagers. Sensorineural hearing loss, which happens when the delicate 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 difficult to understand what people are saying in crowded settings, such as classrooms.

Hearing loss in children is especially worrisome because kids frequently don’t recognize they have a hearing problem. If the issue isn’t addressed, there is a risk the hearing loss may get worse when they become adults.

What is The Connection?

Obesity is associated with several health issues and researchers suspect that its connection with hearing loss and tinnitus lies with these health issues. High blood pressure, diabetes, and poor circulation are all tied to hearing loss and are frequently caused by obesity.

The inner ear’s anatomy is very sensitive – composed of a series of little capillaries, nerve cells, and other fragile parts that must stay healthy to work effectively and in unison. Good blood flow is crucial. This process can be hindered when obesity causes narrowing of the blood vessels and high blood pressure.

Reduced blood flow can also damage the cochlea, which receives sound waves and sends nerve impulses to the brain so you can distinguish what you’re hearing. If the cochlea is damaged, it’s usually irreversible.

What Should You do?

Women in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital study who exercised the most had a 17 percent lower chance of experiencing hearing loss versus those who exercised least. You don’t have to run a marathon to decrease your risk, however. The simple routine of walking for at least two hours every week can decrease your risk of hearing loss by 15%.

Your whole family will benefit from a better diet, as your diet can positively affect your hearing beyond the advantages gained from weight loss. If there is a child in your family who has some extra weight, talk with your family members and develop a program to help them shed some pounds. You can show them exercises that are enjoyable for children and incorporate them into family get-togethers. They may do the exercises on their own if they enjoy them enough.

If you suspect you are experiencing hearing loss, consult a hearing professional to discover whether it is related to your weight. Better hearing can come from weight loss and there’s help available. This person can conduct a hearing test to confirm your suspicions and advise you on the steps necessary to deal with your hearing loss symptoms. If necessary, your primary care physician will recommend a diet and exercise program 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 personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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