Gilberts Audiology & Hearing Aid Center - Oklahoma

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

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

Studies have demonstrated that exercising and healthy eating can improve your hearing and that people who are overweight have a higher risk of getting hearing loss. Learning more about these associations can help you make healthy hearing decisions for you and your family.

Adult Hearing And Obesity

Women are more likely to experience hearing loss, according to research carried out by Brigham And Women’s Hospital, if they have a high body mass index (BMI). BMI measures the relationship between body fat and height, with a higher number signifying higher body fat. Of the 68,000 women who took part in the study, the level of hearing loss increased as BMI increased. The heaviest people 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 chance of hearing loss also increases. And finally, incidents of hearing loss were lower in people who took part in frequent 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 developing hearing loss in one ear when compared to non-obese teenagers. Sensorineural hearing loss, which occurs when the delicate 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 hear 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 problem. If the problem isn’t dealt with, there is a danger the hearing loss may get worse when they become adults.

What is The Connection?

Obesity is associated with several health problems and researchers think that its connection with hearing loss and tinnitus lies with these health issues. Poor circulation, diabetes, and high blood pressure are all linked to hearing loss and are frequently caused by obesity.

The inner ear’s anatomy is very sensitive – composed of a series of small capillaries, nerve cells, and other delicate 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 narrowing of the blood vessels and high blood pressure.

Decreased blood flow can also damage the cochlea, which receives sound waves and transmits nerve impulses to the brain so you can recognize what you’re hearing. If the cochlea gets damaged, it’s usually permanent.

What Should You do?

Women who stayed healthy and exercised regularly, according to a Brigham and Women’s Hospital study, had a 17% reduced likelihood of developing hearing loss in comparison with women who didn’t. You don’t have to run a marathon to lower your risk, however. Walking for a couple of hours each week resulted in a 15 percent lower chance of hearing loss than walking for less than an hour.

Your whole family will benefit from eating better, as your diet can positively impact your hearing beyond the benefits gained through weight loss. If you have a child or grandchild in your family who is obese, discuss steps your family can take to encourage a healthier lifestyle. You can incorporate this routine into family get-togethers where you all will do exercises that are fun for kids. They might like the exercises so much they will do them on their own!

If you think you are experiencing hearing loss, talk to a hearing specialist to discover whether it is linked to your weight. Better hearing can come from weight loss and there’s help available. Your hearing professional will identify your level of hearing loss and suggest the best plan of action. A program of exercise and diet can be recommended by your primary care doctor 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.
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