Hearing Services of Nashville

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

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

Studies have established that exercising and healthy eating can strengthen your hearing and that individuals who are overweight have a higher possibility of suffering from hearing loss. It will be easier to make healthy hearing decisions for you and your whole family if you know about these relationships.

Adult Hearing And Obesity

A Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s study revealed that women with a high body mass index (BMI) were at an increased danger of experiencing hearing loss. BMI calculates the connection between height and body fat, with a higher number meaning higher 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 percent more likely to have hearing loss!

Another reliable indicator of hearing loss, in this study, was the size of a person’s waist. With women, as the waist size increases, the risk of hearing loss also increases. And finally, incidents of hearing loss were lower in individuals who engaged in regular 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 develop 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 diminishes the ability to hear lower frequencies.

Children usually don’t realize they have a hearing problem so when they have hearing loss it’s especially worrisome. If the issue isn’t addressed, there is a risk the hearing loss may get worse when they become adults.

What is The Connection?

Researchers surmise that the association between obesity and hearing loss and tinnitus lies in the health symptoms linked to obesity. Poor circulation, diabetes, and high blood pressure are some of the health problems related to obesity and tied to hearing loss.

The sensitive inner ear is made up of various delicate parts including nerve cells, small capillaries, and other parts that will stop working efficiently if they aren’t kept healthy. It’s crucial to have strong blood flow. High blood pressure and the narrowing of blood vessels caused by obesity can obstruct this process.

Decreased blood flow can also damage the cochlea, which receives vibrations and transmits nerve impulses to the brain so you can distinguish what you’re hearing. If the cochlea gets 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 risk of developing hearing loss in comparison with those who exercised least. Lessening your risk, however, doesn’t mean you need to be a marathon runner. The simple act of walking for at least two hours per week can lower your chance of hearing loss by 15%.

Beyond losing weight, a better diet will, of itself, help your hearing which will benefit your whole family. If there is a child in your family who has some extra weight, talk with your family members and put together a routine to help them shed some pounds. You can show them exercises that are fun for children and work them into family gatherings. They might do the exercises on their own if they enjoy them enough.

Talk to a hearing professional to figure out if any hearing loss you might be experiencing is associated with your weight. Better hearing can come from weight loss and there’s help available. This person can conduct 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 doctor will recommend a diet and exercise routine 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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