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 stay 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 healthy eating and exercising can help strengthen your hearing. It will be easier to make healthy hearing decisions for you and your whole family if you understand these connections.

Adult Hearing And Obesity

Women are more likely to experience hearing loss, according to research 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. Of the 68,000 women who participated in the study, the degree of hearing loss increased as BMI increased. The heaviest individuals in the study had a 25% greater instance of hearing loss.

In this study, waist size also ended up being a dependable indicator of hearing loss. With women, as the waist size gets bigger, the risk of hearing loss also increases. Lastly, participants who took part in frequent physical activity had a reduced incidence of hearing loss.

Obesity And Children’s Hearing

A study by Columbia University’s Medical Center revealed that obese teenagers had about double the risk of experiencing hearing loss in one ear than non-obese teenagers. 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 led to a diminished ability to hear sounds at low frequencies, which makes it difficult to hear what people are saying in crowded places, like classrooms.

Children frequently don’t detect they have a hearing issue so when they have hearing loss it’s especially worrisome. If the problem isn’t addressed, there is a risk the hearing loss could get worse 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 problems. High blood pressure, poor circulation, and diabetes are some of the health issues related to obesity and linked to hearing loss.

The sensitive inner ear contains various delicate parts including nerve cells, small capillaries, and other parts that will stop working efficiently if they are not kept healthy. 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 which receives sound vibrations and transmits them to the brain for interpretation. The cochlea can be harmed if it doesn’t receive the proper blood flow. If the cochlea gets 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 risk of developing hearing loss in comparison with those who exercised least. Reducing your risk, however, doesn’t mean you have to be a marathon runner. The simple routine of walking for at least two hours each week can lower your chance of hearing loss by 15%.

Beyond weight loss, a better diet will, of itself, help your hearing which will benefit your entire family. 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 lose some of that weight. You can show them exercises that are enjoyable for children and work them into family get-togethers. They might enjoy the exercises so much they will do them on their own!

If you suspect you are experiencing hearing loss, consult a hearing professional to determine whether it is linked to your weight. Better hearing can come from weight loss and there’s help available. Your hearing specialist will identify your level of hearing loss and advise you on the best strategy. If necessary, your primary care doctor will suggest a diet and exercise routine that best suit your personal needs.

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.