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There are lots of health reasons to keep in shape, but did you know weight loss promotes improved hearing?

Research indicates children and adults who are overweight are more likely to experience hearing loss and that healthy eating and exercising can help fortify your hearing. Understanding more about these connections can help you make healthy hearing decisions for you and your family.

Adult Hearing And Obesity

A Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s study revealed that women with a high body mass index (BMI) were at a higher danger of experiencing hearing loss. 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 heaviest individuals in the study had a 25% greater instance of 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 gets bigger, the risk of hearing loss also increases. And finally, incidents of hearing loss were reduced in individuals who engaged in regular physical activity.

Obesity And Children’s Hearing

A study on obese versus non-obese teenagers, conducted by Columbia University Medical Center, concluded that obese teenagers were twice as likely to experience hearing loss in one ear than teenagers who weren’t obese. These children experienced sensorineural hearing loss, which is a result of 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 loud setting such as a classroom because it decreases the ability to hear lower frequencies.

Hearing loss in children is especially worrisome because kids frequently don’t realize they have a hearing problem. There will be an increasing risk that the issue will get worse as they become an adult if it goes unaddressed.

What is The Connection?

Researchers suspect that the connection between obesity and hearing loss and tinnitus lies in the health symptoms linked to obesity. High blood pressure, diabetes, and poor circulation are some of the health issues caused by obesity and linked to hearing loss.

The inner ear’s workings are very sensitive – consisting of a series of little capillaries, nerve cells, and other fragile parts that must stay healthy to work properly and in unison. It’s crucial to have strong blood flow. 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 which receives sound vibrations and sends them to the brain for interpretation. The cochlea can be damaged if it doesn’t get optimal blood flow. If the cochlea gets damaged, it’s usually irreversible.

What Should You do?

Women in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital study who exercised the most had a 17 percent lower risk of developing hearing loss compared to those who exercised least. Reducing 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 under an hour.

Your entire family will benefit from a better diet, as your diet can positively affect your hearing beyond the advantages gained from weight loss. 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 work 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 like them enough.

If you think you are experiencing hearing loss, consult a hearing professional to determine whether it is related to your weight. Weight loss promotes better hearing and help is available. This person can do a hearing exam to verify your suspicions and advise you on the steps needed to deal with your hearing loss symptoms. If necessary, your primary care doctor will recommend a diet and exercise program that best suit your personal needs.

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