What Does My Weight Have to Do with My Hearing?

February 21, 2022

We hear it all the time: staying in shape is so important to our overall health… but did you know losing weight can also result in better hearing?

Research shows that eating healthy, whole foods and moving your body every day can improve hearing and that being overweight can increase the risk of chance of experiencing hearing loss. Learning how these things are connected can help you to make better choices that will affect you now and in the future.

How Being Overweight Affects Hearing Health

A study by Brigham and Women’s Hospital showed women with a body mass index (BMI: the ratio of height to body fat) that was considered “high” were at higher risk for hearing issues.

Higher BMI is correlated with higher body fat, and higher incidence of hearing loss. For example, the highest BMI numbers were 25% more likely to suffer from hearing loss.

Waist size was also a major factor in this study. Larger waist sizes was correlated with a higher risk of hearing impairment, and the risk increased with waist size. Conversely, study participants who were diligent about exercising regularly had a lower rate of hearing loss.

Obesity and Hearing in Children

What about young people? A Columbia University Medical Center study discovered that overweight teens were at approximately double risk of hearing problems in at least one ear when compared to teenagers of a normal weight.

Obesity can accompany lower blood flow, which can in turn damage to sensitive hair cells in the inner ear, resulting in sensorineural hearing loss. Sensorineural damage can make it hard to distinguish conversation in a crowded setting with background noises and it may diminish the ability to hear lower frequencies.

Children are less likely to recognize and identify a hearing problem right away, which can prevent early preventative treatment, resulting in worse hearing as they age.

What Can You Do?

In the Brigham and Women’s Hospital study, women who got some physical exercise regularly had a 17% lower risk of hearing problems when compared with people who did not exercise regularly. This reduced risk, however, does not take hours per day in the gym. Even just walking for 30 minutes a day, 4 days a week can decrease your risk of hearing loss by 15%.

Everyone benefits from a healthier diet, and since we now know what you eat can have benefits for hearing too, all the more reason to make an effort in that category as well.

Incorporate physical activity and healthy, home-cooked meals into your family’s routine and watch everyone thrive! This can also build lifelong enjoyment of exercise and good eating into your kids’ minds.

Remember that the first step to halting hearing loss and preventing further damage is to recognize your situation. Come in today for a hearing screening and formulate a strategy to train your brain to listen actively and effectively.

Diablo Hearing Services   2301 Camino Ramon, STE 106   San Ramon (925) 394-4646

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