Several studies indicate that being overweight could have yet one more detrimental effect on the body: hearing loss.
We all know that packing extra pounds is not good for our bodies. Obesity can cause a myriad of problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, joint problems and the list goes on. In recent years, several studies suggest that hearing loss can also be added to the list.
One of the biggest health research projects ever done concluded that women who are overweight may face a higher risk of hearing loss than those who are at optimal weight. Though this study focused on women, researchers believe the same is true for men.
The Harvard Nurses’ Health Study tracked close to 70,000 women from 1989 to 2009, asking them detailed questions about their health and daily habits every two years. At the end of the study, the women were asked about their experience with hearing loss. It was determined that those women with a higher body mass index (BMI) or a larger waist circumference faced a higher risk for hearing problems.
This isn’t the only study of its kind. Another study out of the University of Antwerp Belgium also found the greater each participant’s BMI, the more likely a hearing loss. And, perhaps most surprisingly, the correlation isn’t limited to adults. A recent study published by The Laryngoscope discovered that obese teenagers were more likely to have poor hearing at all frequencies, and they were twice as likely to suffer from low-frequency hearing loss in one ear.
How does obesity affect hearing loss
It’s not positively known how obesity affects hearing, but many assume it has to do with blood flow. When you’re overweight, it’s harder for your heart to pump blood and oxygen through your body. As a result, the tiny auditory hair cells responsible for detecting sound don’t get what they need to stay healthy. Once the cells are damaged, they cannot be regenerated, causing a permanent hearing loss.
The good news
Many of these studies point to the idea that maintaining a healthy weight and staying physically active could help reduce your risk of hearing loss. So, if you need another good reason to get out and walk to shed those extra pounds, here it is!