23 May 2016

Obesity increases the risk of hearing loss

Obesity has a negative effect on hearing function, especially the ability to hear high frequencies, a study among women aged 18-40 finds. Previous studies confirm that low levels of physical activity increase the risk of hearing loss.

A study on the association between hearing loss and obesity among women aged 18-40 years demonstrates that obesity may affect hearing function. In particular the ability to hear high frequencies seems to be negatively connected to obesity.

The study, which was conducted by researchers from the Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Faculty of Medicine, Yuzuncu Yil University in Turkey, included forty women diagnosed with obesity and forty healthy, non-obese women. Each study participant was tested with both low and high frequency audiometry.

The results suggest that obesity may affect hearing function and thereby points to the fact that hearing loss as a result of obesity can be prevented by avoidance or control of obesity and its risk factors.

Physical activity prevents hearing loss

A previous study from 2013, published in the American Journal of Medicine, also suggests that keeping active and keeping our weight within healthy limits can help preserve our hearing. In this study 68,000 women were monitored over a twenty year period starting in 1989. The study participants had their hearing tested as well as their body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference measured. They also had to report the amount of exercise they were getting.

The findings of the study showed a significant relationship between low levels of physical activity, obesity and hearing loss. Those with a lower BMI who remained active had 17% less chance of experiencing hearing loss as they aged. Subjects with a waist measurement exceeding 80cm had an 11% greater chance of loss of hearing compared to their slimmer counterparts and those whose measurement exceeded 88cm had a highly significant 27% greater chance of becoming hard of hearing.

Obese teenagers are at high risk

A third study, also from 2013, published in the journal The Laryngoscope, showed that being overweight as a teenager very nearly doubles your chance of one sided low frequency hearing loss. The results also showed that obese teenagers are more likely than their normal-weight peers to experience any kind of hearing loss.

Sources: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, www.auditory-verbal.org and www.huffingtonpost.com

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