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There are plenty of health reasons to stay in shape, but did you know weight loss supports better hearing?

Research reveals children and adults who are overweight are more likely to experience hearing loss and that eating healthy 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

Women had a higher risk of developing hearing loss, according to research done by Brigham And Women’s Hospital, if they have a high body mass index (BMI). BMI measures the relationship between body fat and height, 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 heaviest people in the study had a 25% greater instance of hearing loss.

In this study, waist size also turned out to be a dependable indicator of hearing impairment. 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 took part in frequent physical activity.

Obesity And Children’s Hearing

Research conducted by Columbia University’s Medical Center demonstrated that obese teenagers had nearly double the risk of developing hearing loss in one ear when compared to 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 noisy setting such as a classroom because it decreases the ability to hear lower frequencies.

Hearing loss in children is particularly worrisome because kids frequently don’t realize they have a hearing problem. There will be an increasing danger that the issue will get worse as they become an adult if it’s not treated.

What is The Connection?

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

The inner ear’s anatomy is very sensitive – composed of a series of little capillaries, nerve cells, and other fragile parts that have to remain healthy to work properly and in unison. Good blood flow is essential. This process can be hindered when obesity causes narrowing of the blood vessels and high blood pressure.

Reduced blood flow can also damage the cochlea, which accepts sound waves and transmits nerve impulses to the brain so you can recognize what you’re hearing. Injury to the cochlea and the adjoining nerve cells can rarely be undone.

Is There Anything You Can do?

Women in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital study who exercised the most had a 17 percent lower risk of experiencing hearing loss versus those who exercised least. Decreasing 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% lower risk of hearing loss than walking for under an hour.

Beyond losing weight, a better diet will, of itself, improve your hearing which will benefit your entire family. If there is a child in your family who has some extra weight, get together with your family members and develop a routine to help them lose some of that weight. You can work this program 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 suspect you are experiencing hearing loss, consult a hearing professional to determine whether it is related to your weight. Better hearing can be the result of weight loss and there’s help available. This person can do a hearing exam to verify your suspicions and advise you on the measures needed to deal with your hearing loss symptoms. If necessary, your primary care physician will recommend a diet and exercise routine that best suit your personal needs.

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