How Your Weight Affects Your Hearing

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

There are lots 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 reinforce your hearing and that individuals who are overweight have an increased risk of developing hearing loss. Knowing more about these connections can help you make healthy hearing decisions for you and your family.

Adult Hearing And Obesity

Women had a higher risk of developing hearing loss, according to research carried out by Brigham And Women’s Hospital, if they have a high body mass index (BMI). BMI calculates the connection between height and body fat, with a higher number signifying higher body fat. The higher the BMI of the 68,000 women in the study, the higher their hearing impairment incidence. The heaviest people in the study had a 25% higher instance of hearing loss.

Another dependable indicator of hearing impairment, in this study, was the size of a person’s waist. With women, as the waist size gets bigger, the risk of hearing loss also increases. And finally, incidents of hearing loss were decreased in people who took part in regular physical activity.

Obesity And Children’s Hearing

A study by Columbia University’s Medical Center confirmed that obese teenagers had nearly twice the risk of experiencing hearing loss in one ear than non-obese teenagers. Sensorineural hearing loss, which occurs when the delicate hair cells in the inner ear are damaged, was common in these children. This damage resulted in a decreased ability to hear sounds at low frequencies, which makes it hard to understand what people are saying in crowded settings, such as classrooms.

Children usually don’t realize they have a hearing issue so when they have hearing loss it’s especially worrisome. If the issue isn’t addressed, there is a possibility the hearing loss might 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. 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 anatomy is very sensitive – comprised of a series of small capillaries, nerve cells, and other delicate parts that have to stay healthy to work properly and in unison. Good blood flow is essential. This process can be hampered when obesity causes constricting of the blood vessels and high blood pressure.

The cochlea is a part of the inner ear that receives sound vibrations and delivers them to the brain for interpretation. The cochlea can be harmed if it doesn’t receive optimal blood flow. If the cochlea gets damaged, it’s normally permanent.

Is There Anything You Can do?

Women who stayed healthy and exercised frequently, according to a Brigham and Women’s Hospital study, had a 17% lowered likelihood of getting hearing loss in comparison with women who didn’t. You don’t need to run a marathon to reduce your risk, however. Walking for a couple of hours each week resulted in a 15% lower risk of hearing loss than walking for under an hour.

Beyond weight loss, a better diet will, of itself, improve your hearing which will benefit your entire family. If there is a child in your family who has some extra weight, talk with your family members and develop a routine to help them shed some pounds. You can teach them exercises that are enjoyable for children and incorporate them into family get-togethers. They may like the exercises so much they will do them on their own!

Talk to a hearing professional to figure out if any hearing loss you might be experiencing is related to your weight. Weight loss stimulates better hearing and help is available. Your hearing professional will identify your level of hearing loss and suggest the best plan of action. A regimen of exercise and diet can be recommended by your primary care doctor if necessary.

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.