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

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

Research indicates children and adults who are overweight are more likely to experience hearing loss and that eating healthy and exercising can help fortify your hearing. It will be easier to make healthy hearing decisions for you and your whole family if you know about these connections.

Obesity And Adult Hearing

A Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s study showed that women with a high body mass index (BMI) were at an increased danger 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 amount of hearing loss increased as BMI increased. The participants who were the most overweight were up to 25 percent more likely to experience hearing impairment!

In this study, waist size also ended up being a dependable indicator of hearing loss. Women with bigger waist sizes had a higher chance of hearing loss, and the risk increased as waist sizes increased. Lastly, participants who engaged in frequent physical activity had a decreased incidence of hearing loss.

Obesity And Children’s Hearing

A study by Columbia University’s Medical Center demonstrated that obese teenagers had almost twice the risk of developing hearing loss in one ear than non-obese teenagers. Sensorineural hearing loss, which develops when the sensitive hair cells in the inner ear are damaged, was common in these children. This damage led to a decreased 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 often don’t realize they have a hearing issue. If the problem isn’t dealt with, there is a risk the hearing loss could 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. Poor circulation, diabetes, and high blood pressure are some of the health issues related to obesity and linked to hearing loss.

The inner ear’s workings are very sensitive – consisting of a series of little capillaries, nerve cells, and other fragile parts that need to remain healthy to work properly and in unison. Good blood flow is essential. This process can be hampered when obesity causes constricting 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 discern what you’re hearing. Injury to the cochlea and the surrounding nerve cells can rarely be undone.

What Should You do?

Women who remained healthy and exercised regularly, according to a Brigham and Women’s Hospital study, had a 17% lowered likelihood of getting hearing loss versus women who didn’t. You don’t have to run a marathon to decrease your risk, however. Walking for two or more hours each week resulted in a 15% decreased chance of hearing loss than walking for less than an hour.

Beyond weight loss, a better diet will, of itself, improve your hearing which will benefit your entire family. If you have a child or grandchild in your family who is obese, discuss steps your family can take to promote a healthier lifestyle. You can show them exercises that are fun for children and work them into family get-togethers. They might do the exercises on their own if they enjoy them enough.

Consult a hearing professional 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 recommended by your primary care physician if necessary.

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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.