There are lots of health reasons to keep in shape, but did you realize weight loss supports better hearing?
Studies have demonstrated that exercising and eating healthy can improve your hearing and that individuals who are overweight have a higher possibility of dealing with hearing loss. It will be easier to make healthy hearing decisions for you and your whole family if you know about these associations.
Obesity And Adult Hearing
Women had a higher risk of developing hearing loss, according to a study done by Brigham And Women’s Hospital, if they have a high body mass index (BMI). BMI measures the connection between height and body fat, with a higher number signifying higher body fat. Of the 68,000 women who participated 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 have hearing impairment!
In this study, waist size also turned out to be a reliable indicator of hearing impairment. With women, as the waist size increases, the risk of hearing loss also increases. Lastly, participants who took part in regular physical activity had a decreased incidence of hearing loss.
Obesity And Children’s Hearing
A study on obese versus non-obese teenagers, performed by Columbia University Medical Center, concluded that obese teenagers were twice as likely to experience hearing loss in one ear than teenagers who were not obese. These children suffered sensorineural hearing loss, which is a result of damage to sensitive hair cells in the inner ear that convey sound. This damage resulted in a diminished ability to hear sounds at low frequencies, which makes it difficult to hear what people are saying in crowded settings, such as classrooms.
Children usually don’t recognize they have a hearing issue 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?
Obesity is related to several health issues and researchers suspect that its connection with hearing loss and tinnitus lies with these health issues. High blood pressure, poor circulation, and diabetes are some of the health issues caused by obesity and tied to hearing loss.
The inner ear’s workings are very sensitive – comprised of a series of small capillaries, nerve cells, and other delicate parts that have to stay healthy to work properly and in unison. It’s crucial to have strong blood flow. 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 accepts vibrations and transmits nerve impulses to the brain so you can discern what you’re hearing. If the cochlea gets damaged, it’s usually irreversible.
Is There Anything You Can do?
Women in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital study who exercised the most had a 17 percent decreased risk of experiencing hearing loss compared to those who exercised least. Lowering your risk, however, doesn’t mean you need to be a marathon runner. The simple routine of walking for at least two hours every week can lower your chance of hearing loss by 15%.
Beyond losing weight, a better diet will, of itself, improve your hearing which will benefit your whole family. If there is a child in your family who has some extra weight, get together with your family members and put together a routine to help them shed some pounds. You can incorporate this program into family get-togethers where you all will do exercises that are fun for kids. They may enjoy the exercises so much they will do them on their own!
If you suspect you are experiencing hearing loss, speak with a hearing professional to determine whether it is related to your weight. Weight loss stimulates better hearing and help is available. This individual can conduct a hearing exam to confirm your suspicions and advise you on the steps needed to deal with your hearing loss symptoms. If necessary, your primary care doctor will recommend a diet and exercise program that best suit your individual needs.