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Everyone recognizes that exercising and keeping yourself in shape is good for your overall health but you may not realize that losing weight is also good for your hearing.

Studies have demonstrated that exercising and eating healthy can reinforce your hearing and that people who are overweight have an increased risk of suffering from 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

A Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s study demonstrated that women with a high body mass index (BMI) were at an increased risk of having hearing loss. BMI measures the connection between height and body fat, with a higher number signifying higher body fat. The higher the BMI of the 68,000 women in the study, the higher their hearing loss frequency. The participants who were the most overweight were as much as 25 percent more likely to have hearing loss!

In this study, waist size also turned out to be a reliable indicator of hearing impairment. With women, as the waist size increases, the chance of hearing loss also increases. And finally, incidents of hearing loss were decreased in individuals who took part in frequent physical activity.

Obesity And Children’s Hearing

A study on obese versus non-obese teenagers, conducted by Columbia University Medical Center, determined that obese teenagers were twice as likely to experience hearing loss in one ear than teenagers who weren’t obese. 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.

Hearing loss in children is especially worrisome because kids often don’t realize they have a hearing problem. If the problem isn’t addressed, there is a risk the hearing loss may get worse when they become adults.

What is The Connection?

Researchers surmise 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 all tied to hearing loss and are often the result of obesity.

The inner ear’s workings are very sensitive – comprised of a series of little capillaries, nerve cells, and other delicate parts that must remain healthy to work effectively and in unison. Good blood flow is crucial. 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 that receives sound vibrations and delivers them to the brain for interpretation. The cochlea can be damaged if it doesn’t receive adequate blood flow. Injury to the cochlea and the surrounding nerve cells usually can’t be reversed.

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 getting hearing loss in comparison with women who didn’t. Reducing your risk, however, doesn’t mean you have to be a marathon runner. Walking for a couple of hours every week resulted in a 15% decreased chance of hearing loss than walking for less than an hour.

Your whole family will benefit from eating better, as your diet can positively affect your hearing beyond the benefits 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 work this routine into family get-togethers where you all will do exercises that are fun for kids. They may do the exercises on their own if they like them enough.

If you think you are experiencing hearing loss, speak with a hearing professional to discover whether it is related to your weight. Weight loss promotes better hearing and help is available. This person can conduct a hearing exam to confirm your suspicions and advise you on the steps needed to deal with your hearing loss symptoms. If necessary, your primary care physician will suggest a diet and exercise routine that best suit your personal needs.

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