Doctors have been telling us for years that it’s probably not the best idea to eat a supersized Big Mac with large fries and a soda since – even just once in a while – since it could lead to serious health problems. Heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes…and you can add hearing loss to the list, as well. It’s estimated that approximately 48 million people in the United States – about 20% of the nation’s population – suffer from hearing loss, and almost twice that number of adults –93 million – are obese. These numbers are staggering and point to a serious health problem throughout the country.
How is Obesity Related to Hearing Loss?
Numerous studies have shown that there’s a direct link between obesity and hearing loss. While not a direct cause,obesity is related to hearing loss because of its effect on our circulatory system, and obesity and hearing loss are also common factors for patients with diabetes and high blood pressure.
Our inner ears are filled with microscopic hairs that detect sound in the ear. These hairs, called stereocilia, require a steady flow of blood and oxygen to function correctly.Obesity restricts the blood flow throughout the body since the heart must work extra hard to get blood flowing throughout the body, which means that your inner ear is working on a less-than-optimal blood flow. This can permanently damage the ears. Heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes affects the inner ear in the same way, as each of these diseases negatively impact your blood flow.
It’s especially important to keep control of your weight as you age, since age-related hearing loss and high fat mass index are also related. Your body’s metabolism won’t work as well or as fast as it did in the past, which is why you should try to create healthy habits when you’re younger and stick to those habits as the years go by.
Treatments for Obesity-Related Hearing Loss
It’s possible that you may not be able to recover your lost hearing if it’s brought on by obesity, however it’s always best to consult with a hearing specialist to determine the extent of your hearing loss. If the damage is permanent, you may require a hearing aid or cochlear implant to start hearing properly again.
If the damage is not that severe, you may want to see your doctor about creating an exercise and diet plan to put a stop to your hearing loss before it gets any worse. Your doctor should prescribe a cardio intensive exercise routine that will get your blood pumping and improve your overall health. You will probably find that other areas of your life also improve, such as mental health, since regular exercise has been shown to decrease depression – like the kind brought on by hearing loss.
How to Prevent Obesity-Related Hearing Loss
A healthy diet and a regular exercise campaign are key to preventing obesity-related hearing loss and are also good ways to ensure you don’t develop high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. One way to get started is to consult with a nutritionist who can help develop a plan that’s customized for you and is focused on helping you reach your goals. The nutritionist can make sure you’re eating healthy foods with the right mix of nutrients, such as foods that are high in iron, since – you guessed it – a lack of iron in your diet can exacerbate your hearing loss and lead to tinnitus.
Find out more about hearing loss and the treatments available to help you hear better.