How Your Weight Affects Your Hearing

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

There are lots of health reasons to keep in shape, but did you know weight loss supports better 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 strengthen your hearing. It will be easier to make healthy hearing choices for you and your whole family if you understand these associations.

Obesity And Adult Hearing

A Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s study showed that women with a high body mass index (BMI) were at a higher risk of having hearing loss. The connection 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 loss frequency. The participants who were the most overweight were as much as 25 % more likely to have hearing loss!

Another dependable indicator of hearing impairment, in this study, was the size of a person’s waist. Women with larger waist sizes had a higher risk of hearing loss, and the risk got higher as waist sizes increased. As a final point, participants who engaged in regular physical activity had a decreased incidence of hearing loss.

Children’s Hearing And Obesity

A study on obese versus non-obese teenagers, conducted by Columbia University Medical Center, concluded that obese teenagers were twice as likely to develop hearing loss in one ear than teenagers who were not obese. Sensorineural hearing loss, which happens when the sensitive hair cells in the inner ear are damaged, was common in these children. 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 particularly worrisome because kids frequently don’t realize they have a hearing problem. If the problem isn’t addressed, there is a possibility the hearing loss might get worse when they become adults.

What is The Connection?

Researchers think that the association 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 related to obesity and tied to hearing loss.

The sensitive inner ear contains various delicate parts such as nerve cells, small capillaries, and other parts that will stop working correctly if they aren’t 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 receives vibrations and sends nerve impulses to the brain so you can distinguish what you’re hearing. Injury to the cochlea and the surrounding nerve cells usually can’t be reversed.

Is There Anything You Can do?

Women who remained 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. You don’t need to run a marathon to reduce your risk, however. The simple act of walking for at least two hours per week can decrease your chance of hearing loss by 15%.

Beyond losing weight, a better diet will, of itself, help your hearing which will benefit your whole family. If you have a child or grandchild in your family who is obese, discuss steps your family can take to promote a healthier lifestyle. You can incorporate this routine into family get-togethers where you all will do exercises that are fun for kids. They may like the exercises so much they will do them on their own!

Consult a hearing specialist to find out if any hearing loss you may be experiencing is associated with your weight. Weight loss promotes better hearing and help is available. Your hearing specialist will identify your level of hearing loss and advise you on the best plan of action. If needed, your primary care doctor will recommend a diet and exercise program 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.