How Your Hearing is Impacted by Your Weight

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

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

Research indicates children and adults who are overweight are more likely to cope with hearing loss and that eating healthy and exercising can help fortify your hearing. It will be easier to make healthy hearing decisions for you and your whole family if you learn about these relationships.

Obesity And Adult Hearing

A Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s study revealed that women with a high body mass index (BMI) were at a higher risk of having hearing loss. The relationship between height and body fat is what BMI measures. The higher the number the higher the body fat. Of the 68,000 women who participated in the study, the degree of hearing loss increased as BMI increased. The participants who were the most overweight were as much as 25 % more likely to experience hearing loss!

Another dependable indicator of hearing loss, in this study, was waist size. With women, as the waist size gets bigger, the risk of hearing loss also increases. And finally, incidents of hearing loss were decreased in individuals who engaged in regular physical activity.

Children’s Hearing And Obesity

Research conducted by Columbia University’s Medical Center demonstrated that obese teenagers had about double the risk of developing hearing loss in one ear than non-obese teenagers. Sensorineural hearing loss, which happens when the delicate 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.

Hearing loss in children is especially worrisome because kids frequently don’t recognize they have a hearing problem. If the issue isn’t dealt with, there is a possibility the hearing loss might worsen when they become adults.

What is The Connection?

Researchers suspect that the connection between obesity and hearing loss and tinnitus is based on the health symptoms related to obesity. High blood pressure, poor circulation, and diabetes are some of the health issues related to obesity and tied to hearing loss.

The sensitive inner ear is made up of various delicate parts such as nerve cells, little capillaries, and other parts which will quit working properly if they are not kept healthy. It’s essential to have strong blood flow. High blood pressure and the constricting of blood vessels brought about by obesity can hamper this process.

Reduced blood flow can also damage the cochlea, which accepts vibrations and transmits nerve impulses to the brain so you can discern what you’re hearing. If the cochlea is damaged, it’s normally irreversible.

Is There Anything You Can do?

Women who stayed healthy and exercised regularly, according to a Brigham and Women’s Hospital study, had a 17% lowered likelihood of getting hearing loss versus women who didn’t. You don’t have to run a marathon to decrease your risk, however. Walking for a couple of hours per week resulted in a 15 percent 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 through weight loss. If you have a child or grandchild in your family who is overweight, discuss steps your family can take to encourage a healthier lifestyle. You can show them exercises that are enjoyable for children and incorporate them into family gatherings. They might enjoy the exercises enough to do them on their own!

If you suspect you are experiencing hearing loss, speak with a hearing specialist to determine whether it is linked to your weight. Weight loss stimulates better hearing and help is available. Your hearing specialist will identify your level of hearing loss and advise you on the best course of action. A program of exercise and diet can be recommended by your primary care physician if needed.

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.