Weight Linked to Hearing Loss

A new study published in the Journal of American Medicine showed that those who are overweight had a higher risk of hearing loss. Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston¬† found study participants with a higher level of physical activity also had a lower risk of hearing loss.

“We often think of hearing loss as an inevitable part of the aging process, but these findings provide evidence that potentially modifiable risk factors, such as maintaining a healthy weight and staying physically active, may help in the prevention of hearing loss or delay its progression,” study researcher Sharon Curhan, M.D., Sc.M., of the Channing Division of Network Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said in a statement.

Over 60,000 women who were part of the Nurses’ Health Study II were included in the study; physical activity, body mass index, waist circumference and hearing loss were tracked over a 20 year period. Researchers found links between higher body mass index and waist circumference and hearing loss. Women with a body mass index of 30 to 34 (a sign of obesity) had a 17 percent higher risk of hearing loss, compared with women who had a BMI lower than 25 (normal weight is indicated by a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9, while overweight is indicated by a BMI of 25 to 29.9). Those participants with a BMI of 40 or greater had a 25 percent higher risk of hearing loss.

Being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight can help you avoid many long term health issues. It may also help your hearing as you age.