How Obesity May Contribute to Hearing Loss

  • March 06, 2019
How Obesity May Contribute to Hearing Loss

There are many different causes of hearing loss, some of which are obvious, such as long-term exposure to loud noises, while other factors are not as apparent. These factors include heart health, genetics, and even your weight. Countless studies have shown that obesity increases the likelihood an individual will develop hearing loss and highlight how maintaining a healthy lifestyle can benefit the body overall.

Poor health leads to poor hearing

How can an individual’s weight affect their hearing? Tiny hair cells, called stereocilia detect sounds in the inner ear, and rely on a steady blood flow and supply of oxygen in order to properly function. When an individual is obese, the heart must work harder to pump blood throughout the body, causing the arteries and capillaries more difficulty in transporting blood and oxygen to the delicate hair cells. Without the proper amount of blood and oxygen, they become damaged, and no longer work properly. Unfortunately, once these hair cells have been impaired, they can no longer be restored or regenerated, leading to permanent hearing loss.

Obesity doesn’t cause hearing loss directly but being overweight can contribute to other debilitations that can damage hearing. One example is that those who suffer from Type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to develop hearing loss. Heart disease is another example, which can limit circulation, negatively effecting the heart’s ability to supply enough blood and oxygen to the inner ears.

A staggering number of obese middle-aged individuals experience hearing loss. Today’s youth often gets less exercise and eats larger portions than in the past few years. A study showed that more than 15 percent of obese adolescents also experience hearing loss, compared to the less than 8 percent of non-obese adolescents.

Healthy body, healthy hearing

Eating right and having an exercise routine are keys to good health, and with obesity linked to hearing loss, there is even more reason to strive towards a healthy lifestyle. One study on the link between hearing loss and obesity showed that women who were physically active had 17 percent lower risk of developing hearing loss than others who were less physically active.

Asking your doctor to recommend a proper diet and exercise routine is the first step to improving one’s overall health and safeguarding their hearing. If you feel you are suffering from hearing loss, visit our website to schedule an appointment with one of our hearing healthcare professionals. Remember to eat healthy and exercise, your hearing will thank you for it.