There are lots of health reasons to keep in shape, but did you realize weight loss promotes better hearing?
Research shows children and adults who are overweight are more likely to cope with hearing loss and that healthy eating and exercising can help strengthen your hearing. It will be easier to make healthy hearing decisions for you and your whole family if you understand these relationships.
Adult Hearing And Obesity
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). The connection between height and body fat is what BMI measures. The higher the number the higher the body fat. Of the 68,000 women who participated in the study, the degree of hearing loss increased as BMI increased. The participants who were the most overweight were as much as 25 % more likely to have hearing impairment!
In this study, waist size also turned out to be a dependable indicator of hearing impairment. Women with bigger waist sizes had a higher chance of hearing loss, and the risk increased as waist sizes increased. Lastly, participants who took part in regular physical activity had a lower incidence of hearing loss.
Children’s Hearing And Obesity
A study by Columbia University’s Medical Center confirmed that obese teenagers had nearly double the risk of experiencing hearing loss in one ear when compared to non-obese teenagers. Sensorineural hearing loss, which occurs when the sensitive 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.
Children often don’t detect they have a hearing problem so when they have hearing loss it’s especially worrisome. If the problem isn’t dealt with, there is a risk the hearing loss may get worse when they become adults.
What is The Connection?
Researchers surmise that the connection between obesity and hearing loss and tinnitus lies in the health symptoms related to obesity. High blood pressure, diabetes, and poor circulation are all linked to hearing loss and are frequently caused by obesity.
The inner ear’s workings are very sensitive – composed of a series of little capillaries, nerve cells, and other delicate parts that must stay healthy to work effectively and in unison. Good blood flow is crucial. This process can be hampered when obesity causes narrowing of the blood vessels and high blood pressure.
The cochlea is a part of the inner ear that receives sound vibrations and transmits them to the brain for interpretation. The cochlea can be damaged if it doesn’t receive optimal blood flow. If the cochlea is damaged, it’s usually permanent.
Is There Anything You Can do?
Women who stayed healthy and exercised regularly, according to a Brigham and Women’s Hospital study, had a 17% lowered likelihood of getting hearing loss compared to women who didn’t. Reducing your risk, however, doesn’t mean you need to be a marathon runner. Walking for a couple of hours each week resulted in a 15 percent reduced chance of hearing loss than walking for under an hour.
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 develop a program to help them shed some pounds. You can show them exercises that are fun for kids and work them into family gatherings. They may like the exercises enough to do them on their own!
Consult a hearing specialist to figure out if any hearing loss you may be experiencing is associated with your weight. Weight loss promotes better hearing and help is available. This person can do a hearing exam to verify your suspicions and advise you on the measures necessary to deal with your hearing loss symptoms. If needed, your primary care physician will suggest a diet and exercise program that best suit your personal needs.