How Your Weight Affects Your Hearing


Everybody knows that exercising and keeping yourself in shape is good for your general health but you may not realize that losing weight is also good for your hearing.

Research reveals children and adults who are overweight are more likely to experience hearing loss and that healthy eating and exercising can help fortify your hearing. Learning more about these associations can help you make healthy hearing choices for you and your family.

Obesity And Adult Hearing

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). The relationship between body fat and height 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 impairment frequency. The participants who were the most overweight were up to 25 % more likely to experience hearing loss!

Another reliable indicator of hearing impairment, in this study, was waist size. Women with larger waist sizes had a higher risk of hearing loss, and the risk got higher as waist sizes increased. Lastly, participants who took part in regular physical activity had a lower incidence of hearing loss.

Children’s Hearing And Obesity

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

Hearing loss in children is especially worrisome because kids frequently don’t realize they have a hearing problem. If the issue isn’t addressed, there is a possibility the hearing loss may worsen when they become adults.

What is The Connection?

Researchers suspect that the association between obesity and hearing loss and tinnitus is based on the health symptoms linked to obesity. Poor circulation, diabetes, and high blood pressure are some of the health issues related to obesity and linked to hearing loss.

The sensitive inner ear contains numerous delicate parts such as nerve cells, little capillaries, and other parts which will quit working correctly if they aren’t kept healthy. It’s essential to have strong blood flow. High blood pressure and the narrowing of blood vessels brought about by obesity can obstruct this process.

The cochlea is a part of the inner ear which receives sound vibrations and sends them to the brain for translation. The cochlea can be harmed if it doesn’t get optimal blood flow. Damage to the cochlea and the adjoining nerve cells usually can’t be reversed.

What Should You do?

Women in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital study who exercised the most had a 17 percent less chance of developing hearing loss in comparison with those who exercised least. Lowering your risk, however, doesn’t mean you have to be a marathon runner. The simple routine of walking for at least two hours per week can lower your chance of hearing loss by 15%.

Beyond losing weight, a better diet will, of itself, improve your hearing which will benefit your whole family. If there is a child in your family who has some extra weight, talk with your family members and develop a program to help them shed some pounds. 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.

Talk to a hearing professional to figure out if any hearing loss you might be experiencing is related to your weight. Better hearing can be the result of weight loss and there’s help available. This individual can perform a hearing exam to verify your suspicions and advise you on the measures needed to correct your hearing loss symptoms. If necessary, your primary care physician 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.