How Weight Gain Impacts Your Hearing

by | Sep 28, 2021 | Hearing Health, Hearing Protection, Patient Resources

There are numerous studies that show a link between obesity and hearing loss and the results show that you are far more likely to experience hearing loss if you are overweight.

It is no secret that weight gain can harm your health in a number of ways. It puts excess strain on the joints and leads to physical health problems and it also increases your risk of developing a number of diseases in later life. However, did you know that weight gain can also damage your hearing?

There are so many factors that can lead to hearing loss and, in some cases, it happens naturally as you get older. But if you are carrying excess weight, you are more likely to experience hearing loss. If you have concerns about your hearing and you have noticed a change, you should always speak to an audiologist so they can diagnose the problem and potentially determine the cause. In some cases, you may find that it is related to excess weight.

So, what is the link between weight gain and hearing loss?

How Does Weight Gain Impact Your Hearing?

There are numerous studies that show a link between obesity and hearing loss and the results show that you are far more likely to experience hearing loss if you are overweight. The exact cause has not yet been proven and more research is still needed in this area. However, experts believe that it has to do with the impact that weight gain has on the circulatory system.

Small hairs in the inner ear called stereocilia detect sound and then process it before sending a signal to your brain. If anything interrupts the function of these small hairs, it leads to hearing loss issues. The stereocilia need a constant flow of blood and oxygen to do their job properly, so it is likely that circulatory problems caused by weight gain have an impact on your hearing.

When you are carrying excess weight, the blood flow is restricted and the heart struggles to pump blood around the body efficiently. As a result, less oxygen gets to the inner ear and the stereocilia are unable to function as they should.

Other health conditions associated with weight gain, like diabetes and high blood pressure, affect the hearing in the same way. This causes a short-term change to your hearing but it can also cause lasting damage, leading to a long-term hearing loss issue that may not be reversible. However, if you see an audiologist right away and take action, you may be able to improve your hearing again.

Can Weight-Related Hearing Loss Be Treated?

This all depends on how advanced the hearing loss is. If you seek advice from an audiologist and they diagnose you with permanent hearing loss, you will have to consider options like hearing aids. Your audiologist will help you find solutions that allow you to manage hearing loss and live a full life.

In some cases, if you are only just starting to notice a change to your hearing, it may not be too late to reverse it. In this case, you need to put a diet and exercise plan in place to lose weight and reduce circulatory issues that cause damage to the inner ear. If you are unsure where to start with this, consult your doctor and they can give you advice on improving your lifestyle.

How Can Weight-Related Hearing Loss Be Avoided?

Although it is possible to reverse it, in some cases, it is important that you take steps to avoid weight-related hearing loss in the first place. Living a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly is the most effective way to maintain your weight and avoid hearing loss issues.

A balanced diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables will also protect your hearing health and avoid issues caused by malnutrition. Certain nutrients, like folic acid, can help prevent damage to the inner ear. Potassium has also been shown to be effective for dealing with tinnitus. So, a healthy diet will not only reduce your weight, but it will also boost your overall hearing health.

It is also important that you are proactive about hearing health and you have regular checkups with an audiologist. Identifying any changes to your hearing early is the key to avoiding long-term issues because you still have time to make lifestyle changes and reverse weight-related hearing loss.

If you are concerned about your hearing and you think that excess weight may increase your chances of developing hearing loss, you should seek the advice of an audiologist right away. Get in touch with Allison Audiology & Hearing Aid Center, P.C today to learn more about how we can help. You can reach us at Houston at 713-827-1767.

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Jana Emola-Austin, Au.D.

Raised in Bryan, Texas, Jana completed her undergraduate studies at Texas A&M University before attending the University of North Texas with an ambition to earn her master’s degree in speech pathology. However, a required audiology class soon set her on a new career path. She became enthralled with the subject and says audiology resonated with her because it involved everything she enjoys – helping people to improve their lives and relationships with others and using technology to make positive impacts. Following this revelation, Jana went on to graduate with her Doctor of Audiology degree. After many years of assisting patients in the clinic on a daily basis, Jana’s main responsibilities at Allison Audiology have shifted to a management role. She now works behind the scenes focusing on administrative, management, and marketing responsibilities.