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Everyone recognizes that exercising and keeping yourself in shape is good for your general health but you might not know that losing weight is also good for your hearing.

Research shows children and adults who are overweight are more likely to experience hearing loss and that eating healthy and exercising can help support your hearing. It will be easier to make healthy hearing choices for you and your whole family if you learn about these associations.

Obesity And Adult Hearing

Women are more likely to experience 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 impairment frequency. The participants who were the most overweight were up to 25 % more likely to experience hearing loss!

Another dependable indicator of hearing loss, in this study, was waist size. Women with bigger waist sizes had a higher chance of hearing loss, and the risk got higher as waist sizes increased. And finally, incidents of hearing loss were decreased in people who engaged in regular physical activity.

Children’s Hearing And Obesity

A study by Columbia University’s Medical Center demonstrated that obese teenagers had nearly double the risk of developing hearing loss in one ear than non-obese teenagers. Sensorineural hearing loss, which occurs when the sensitive hair cells in the inner ear are damaged, was common in these children. This damage makes it difficult to hear what people are saying in a loud setting like a classroom because it diminishes the ability to hear lower frequencies.

Children often 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 possibility the hearing loss might worsen when they become adults.

What is The Connection?

Obesity is associated with several health problems and researchers suspect that its connection with hearing loss and tinnitus lies with these health issues. High blood pressure, poor circulation, and diabetes are all linked to hearing loss and are often caused by obesity.

The inner ear’s workings are very sensitive – comprised of a series of small capillaries, nerve cells, and other delicate parts that need to remain healthy to work properly and in unison. Good blood flow is essential. 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 that receives sound vibrations and transmits them to the brain for translation. The cochlea can be damaged if it doesn’t get adequate blood flow. If the cochlea gets damaged, it’s usually irreversible.

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 developing hearing loss versus women who didn’t. Lowering your risk, however, doesn’t mean you need to be a marathon runner. Walking for two or more hours each week resulted in a 15% decreased chance of hearing loss than walking for less than an hour.

Beyond weight loss, a better diet will, of itself, improve your hearing which will benefit your entire family. If you have a child or grandchild in your family who is overweight, talk about steps your family can take to promote a healthier lifestyle. You can work this routine into family get-togethers where you all will do exercises that are fun for kids. They might do the exercises on their own if they like them enough.

Talk to a hearing professional to determine if any hearing loss you might be experiencing is related to your weight. Weight loss promotes better hearing and help is available. This person can perform a hearing exam to verify your suspicions and advise you on the measures necessary 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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