How Your Weight Impacts 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 promotes improved hearing?

Studies have established that exercising and healthy eating can strengthen your hearing and that people who are overweight have a higher risk of getting hearing loss. It will be easier to make healthy hearing choices for you and your whole family if you learn about these relationships.

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 calculates the relationship between body fat and height, with a higher number indicating higher body fat. The higher the BMI of the 68,000 women in the study, the higher their hearing loss amount. The heaviest people in the study had a 25% greater instance of hearing loss.

Another dependable 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. As a final point, participants who took part in frequent physical activity had a decreased incidence of hearing loss.

Children’s Hearing And Obesity

Research conducted by Columbia University’s Medical Center demonstrated that obese teenagers had almost twice the risk of developing hearing loss in one ear when compared to non-obese teenagers. Sensorineural hearing loss, which happens when the sensitive hair cells in the inner ear are damaged, was common in these children. This damage resulted in a diminished ability to hear sounds at low frequencies, which makes it difficult to understand what people are saying in crowded places, such as classrooms.

Hearing loss in children is especially worrisome because kids often don’t realize they have a hearing problem. There will be an increasing danger that the problem will get worse as they become an adult if it’s not treated.

What is The Connection?

Obesity is related to several health issues and researchers believe that its connection with hearing loss and tinnitus lies with these health issues. High blood pressure, poor circulation, and diabetes are some of the health issues related to 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 remain healthy to work properly and in unison. It’s crucial to have strong blood flow. This process can be hindered when obesity causes narrowing of the blood vessels and high blood pressure.

Decreased blood flow can also damage the cochlea, which receives sound waves and transmits nerve impulses to the brain so you can recognize what you’re hearing. Injury to the cochlea and the adjoining nerve cells usually can’t be reversed.

What Should You do?

Women in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital study who exercised the most had a 17 percent decreased risk of experiencing hearing loss in comparison with those who exercised least. Lessening your risk, however, doesn’t mean you have to be a marathon runner. Walking for two or more hours per week resulted in a 15 percent reduced chance of hearing loss than walking for under an hour.

Beyond weight loss, a better diet will, of itself, help 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 put together a program to help them shed some pounds. You can work this routine into family gatherings where you all will do exercises that are fun for kids. They might enjoy the exercises so much they will do them on their own!

Consult a hearing specialist to figure out if any hearing loss you may be experiencing is related to your weight. Better hearing can be the result of weight loss and there’s help available. Your hearing professional will identify your level of hearing loss and suggest the best strategy. If necessary, your primary care doctor will suggest a diet and exercise routine that best suit your individual needs.

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.