How Your Hearing is Affected by Your Weight

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

There are lots of health reasons to stay in shape, but did you realize weight loss promotes better hearing?

Studies have demonstrated that exercising and eating healthy can reinforce your hearing and that individuals who are overweight have an increased chance of getting hearing loss. Knowing more about these associations 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 assesses the relationship between body fat and height, with a higher number indicating higher body fat. Of the 68,000 women who took part in the study, the degree 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 dependable indicator of hearing loss, in this study, was waist size. 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 frequent physical activity.

Obesity And Children’s Hearing

Research conducted by Columbia University’s Medical Center revealed that obese teenagers had almost double the risk of experiencing hearing loss in one ear than non-obese teenagers. These children experienced sensorineural hearing loss, which is caused by damage to sensitive hair cells in the inner ear that carry sound. This damage resulted in a diminished ability to hear sounds at low frequencies, which makes it difficult to hear what people are saying in crowded settings, like classrooms.

Children frequently don’t recognize they have a hearing issue so when they have hearing loss it’s particularly worrisome. If the problem isn’t dealt with, there is a possibility the hearing loss may get worse 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. Poor circulation, diabetes, and high blood pressure are some of the health problems caused by obesity and tied to hearing loss.

The sensitive inner ear contains numerous delicate parts such as nerve cells, small capillaries, and other parts that will quit working efficiently if they aren’t kept healthy. It’s essential to have strong blood flow. 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 which receives sound vibrations and delivers them to the brain for translation. The cochlea can be damaged if it doesn’t get the proper blood flow. If the cochlea is damaged, it’s normally 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 chance of developing hearing loss in comparison with those who exercised least. You don’t need to run a marathon to decrease your risk, however. The simple routine of walking for at least two hours each week can reduce your chance of hearing loss by 15%.

Beyond losing weight, a better diet will, of itself, improve your hearing which will benefit your whole family. If there is a child in your family who has some extra weight, get together with your family members and develop a program to help them lose some of that weight. You can incorporate this program 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 enjoy them enough.

Consult a hearing professional to figure out if any hearing loss you may be experiencing is related to your weight. Weight loss stimulates better hearing and help is available. Your hearing specialist will determine your level of hearing loss and advise you on the best course of action. A regimen of exercise and diet can be recommended by your primary care physician 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.