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

Research shows children and adults who are overweight are more likely to experience hearing loss and that eating healthy and exercising can help strengthen your hearing. Knowing more about these associations can help you make healthy hearing choices for you and your family.

Obesity And Adult Hearing

A Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s study demonstrated that women with a high body mass index (BMI) were at an increased danger of having hearing loss. The relationship between height and body fat is what BMI measures. The higher the number the higher the body fat. Of the 68,000 women who took part in the study, the amount of hearing loss increased as BMI increased. The participants who were the most overweight were up to 25 % more likely to experience hearing loss!

Another reliable indicator of hearing impairment, in this study, was waist size. Women with larger waist sizes had a higher chance of hearing loss, and the risk increased as waist sizes increased. Lastly, participants who engaged in frequent physical activity had a reduced incidence of hearing loss.

Children’s Hearing And Obesity

A study on obese versus non-obese teenagers, carried out by Columbia University Medical Center, concluded that obese teenagers were twice as likely to experience hearing loss in one ear than teenagers who weren’t obese. These children suffered sensorineural hearing loss, which is caused by damage to sensitive hair cells in the inner ear that convey sound. This damage makes it hard to hear what people are saying in a noisy setting such as a classroom because it decreases the ability to hear lower frequencies.

Children often don’t recognize they have a hearing problem so when they have hearing loss it’s particularly worrisome. If the issue isn’t dealt with, there is a risk the hearing loss could get worse when they become adults.

What is The Connection?

Researchers suspect that the association between obesity and hearing loss and tinnitus is based on the health symptoms linked to obesity. Poor circulation, diabetes, and high blood pressure are some of the health issues caused by obesity and linked to hearing loss.

The inner ear’s workings are very sensitive – consisting of a series of small capillaries, nerve cells, and other fragile parts that need to stay healthy to work properly and in unison. It’s essential to have strong blood flow. 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 which receives sound vibrations and delivers them to the brain for translation. The cochlea can be damaged if it doesn’t get adequate blood flow. If the cochlea is damaged, it’s normally permanent.

What Should You do?

Women in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital study who exercised the most had a 17 percent less chance of developing hearing loss compared to those who exercised least. You don’t have to run a marathon to decrease your risk, however. Walking for a couple of hours per week resulted in a 15 percent decreased risk of hearing loss than walking for less than an hour.

Your entire family will benefit from eating better, as your diet can positively impact your hearing beyond the benefits gained through weight loss. If there is a child in your family who has some extra weight, get together with your family members and develop a routine to help them lose some of that weight. You can teach them exercises that are fun for children and incorporate them into family get-togethers. They might enjoy the exercises so much they will do them on their own!

Consult a hearing professional to find out if any hearing loss you might be experiencing is related to your weight. Weight loss promotes better hearing and help is available. This individual can conduct a hearing test to confirm your suspicions and advise you on the measures needed to correct your hearing loss symptoms. A program of exercise and diet can be recommended by your primary care doctor if necessary.

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