Audio Life Hearing Center- Knoxville, TN

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

Everyone knows that exercising and keeping yourself in shape is good for your overall health but you might not know that losing weight is also good for your hearing.

Studies have demonstrated that exercising and eating healthy can reinforce your hearing and that individuals who are overweight have a higher possibility of dealing with hearing loss. Understanding more about these relationships can help you make healthy hearing decisions for you and your family.

Adult Hearing And Obesity

A Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s study revealed women with a high body mass index (BMI) were at a higher danger of experiencing hearing loss. BMI assesses the connection between body fat and height, with a higher number signifying higher body fat. The higher the BMI of the 68,000 women in the study, the higher their hearing loss incidence. The heaviest individuals in the study had a 25% higher instance of hearing loss.

Another dependable indicator of hearing impairment, in this study, was waist size. Women with larger waist sizes had a higher risk of hearing loss, and the risk increased as waist sizes increased. And finally, incidents of hearing loss were decreased in people who took part in frequent physical activity.

Children’s Hearing And Obesity

A study on obese versus non-obese teenagers, performed by Columbia University Medical Center, concluded that obese teenagers were twice as likely to develop hearing loss in one ear than teenagers who were not obese. These children experienced sensorineural hearing loss, which is caused by damage to sensitive hair cells in the inner ear that carry 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, like classrooms.

Hearing loss in children is especially worrisome because kids frequently 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 think that the association between obesity and hearing loss and tinnitus lies in the health symptoms related to obesity. Poor circulation, diabetes, and high blood pressure are all linked to hearing loss and are often caused by obesity.

The inner ear’s anatomy is very sensitive – comprised of a series of little capillaries, nerve cells, and other fragile parts that have to remain healthy to work correctly and in unison. Good blood flow is crucial. High blood pressure and the constricting of blood vessels brought about by obesity can impede this process.

Reduced blood flow can also damage the cochlea, which receives vibrations and sends nerve impulses to the brain so you can recognize what you’re hearing. Injury to the cochlea and the surrounding nerve cells usually can’t be reversed.

Is There Anything You Can do?

Women who stayed healthy and exercised frequently, according to a Brigham and Women’s Hospital study, had a 17% reduced likelihood of getting hearing loss versus women who didn’t. You don’t need to run a marathon to decrease your risk, however. The simple act of walking for at least two hours each week can lower 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 there is a child in your family who has some extra weight, get together with your family members and put together a program to help them lose some of that weight. You can show them exercises that are enjoyable for children and work them into family gatherings. They may like the exercises so much they will do them on their own!

Talk to a hearing professional 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 person can do a hearing test to verify your suspicions and advise you on the measures needed to correct your hearing loss symptoms. If needed, your primary care physician will suggest a diet and exercise program that best suit your personal 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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