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Everybody recognizes that exercising and keeping yourself in shape is good for your overall health but you may not know that losing weight is also good for your hearing.

Studies have established that exercising and eating healthy can strengthen your hearing and that individuals who are overweight have a higher chance of developing hearing loss. Learning more about these connections 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 done by Brigham And Women’s Hospital, if they have a high body mass index (BMI). BMI assesses the connection between height and body fat, with a higher number meaning higher body fat. Of the 68,000 women who participated in the study, the degree of hearing loss increased as BMI increased. The heaviest people in the study had a 25% higher instance of hearing loss.

Another reliable indicator of hearing loss, in this study, was the size of a person’s waist. Women with larger waist sizes had a higher chance of hearing loss, and the risk got higher as waist sizes increased. And finally, incidents of hearing loss were decreased in individuals who took part in frequent physical activity.

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 experienced 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 decreased ability to hear sounds at low frequencies, which makes it hard to hear what people are saying in crowded settings, such as classrooms.

Hearing loss in children is particularly worrisome because kids often don’t recognize they have a hearing problem. If the issue isn’t addressed, there is a possibility the hearing loss might worsen when they become adults.

What is The Connection?

Obesity is associated with several health issues and researchers think that its connection with hearing loss and tinnitus lies with these health problems. High blood pressure, diabetes, and poor circulation are all linked to hearing loss and are frequently the result of obesity.

The inner ear’s anatomy is very sensitive – comprised 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 crucial. High blood pressure and the constricting of blood vessels brought about by obesity can obstruct this process.

The cochlea is a part of the inner ear which receives sound vibrations and sends them to the brain for interpretation. The cochlea can be damaged if it doesn’t receive optimal blood flow. Injury to the cochlea and the surrounding nerve cells can rarely be undone.

Is There Anything You Can do?

Women who remained healthy and exercised frequently, according to a Brigham and Women’s Hospital study, had a 17% reduced likelihood of getting hearing loss in comparison with women who didn’t. Decreasing your risk, however, doesn’t mean you have to be a marathon runner. Walking for a couple of hours each week resulted in a 15% decreased risk of hearing loss than walking for less than an hour.

Beyond losing weight, a better diet will, of itself, help your hearing which will benefit your entire family. If you have a child or grandchild in your family who is obese, talk about 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 may do the exercises on their own if they like them enough.

If you think you are experiencing hearing loss, talk to a hearing professional to discover whether it is linked to your weight. Better hearing can come from weight loss and there’s help available. This individual can do a hearing test to verify your suspicions and advise you on the steps necessary to correct your hearing loss symptoms. A program of exercise and diet can be recommended by your primary care physician if necessary.

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Main Line Audiology Consultants, PC