How Your Hearing is Impacted by Your Weight


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

There are plenty of health reasons to keep in shape, but did you know weight loss supports improved hearing?

Studies have established that exercising and healthy eating can improve your hearing and that people who are overweight have an increased risk of suffering from hearing loss. It will be easier to make healthy hearing choices 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 carried out by Brigham And Women’s Hospital, if they have a high body mass index (BMI). The relationship between height and body fat is what BMI measures. The higher the number the higher the body fat. The higher the BMI of the 68,000 women in the study, the higher their hearing loss incidence. The participants who were the most overweight were as much as 25 percent more likely to experience hearing loss!

In this study, waist size also ended up being a dependable indicator of hearing impairment. Women with bigger waist sizes had a higher risk of hearing loss, and the risk increased as waist sizes increased. As a final point, participants who engaged in frequent physical activity had a lower incidence of hearing loss.

Obesity And Children’s Hearing

A study by Columbia University’s Medical Center confirmed that obese teenagers had almost double the risk of experiencing hearing loss in one ear when compared to non-obese teenagers. These children experienced sensorineural hearing loss, which is caused by damage to sensitive hair cells in the inner ear that convey sound. This damage led to 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 issue. If the issue isn’t dealt with, there is a risk the hearing loss might worsen when they become adults.

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, diabetes, and poor circulation are all tied to hearing loss and are frequently the result of obesity.

The sensitive inner ear is made up of numerous delicate parts such as nerve cells, little capillaries, and other parts that will stop working efficiently if they aren’t kept healthy. It’s crucial to have strong blood flow. This process can be hindered when obesity causes constricting of the blood vessels and high blood pressure.

The cochlea is a part of the inner ear which receives sound vibrations and sends them to the brain for translation. The cochlea can be harmed if it doesn’t receive the proper blood flow. If the cochlea is damaged, it’s usually permanent.

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 versus those who exercised least. Reducing 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 risk of hearing loss by 15%.

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 overweight, discuss steps your family can take to encourage a healthier lifestyle. You can incorporate this routine into family gatherings where you all will do exercises that are fun for kids. They may like the exercises enough to do them on their own!

Consult a hearing specialist to find out if any hearing loss you may be experiencing is associated with your weight. Better hearing can come from weight loss and there’s help available. This individual can conduct a hearing exam to confirm your suspicions and advise you on the measures necessary to deal with your hearing loss symptoms. A program of exercise and diet can be recommended by your primary care physician if needed.

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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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