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Does Poor Weight Control Impact Hearing?

One of the unfortunate accompaniments of aging is hearing loss.  Although hearing aids have improved greatly over the years, there are still many elderly people that cannot hear very well despite these aids.  Lack of hearing can lead to social isolation and increasing depression.

Our inner ears are a complex system of semi-circular tubes filled with fluid and nerve endings. One of the main components of the auditory system is hair cells, which are responsible for detecting sound, translating it into electrical signals and transmitting it to the brain for interpretation. 

Studies indicate healthy blood flow and oxygen contribute to the health of these hair cells. Since obesity strains the walls of your capillaries, they struggle to transport oxygen to hair cells efficiently. Once these hair cells are damaged, they cannot be regenerated and hearing loss may be permanent.

Because excess body weight makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood throughout the body, obesity can lead to high blood pressure.  This, in turn, leads to an increased risk of stroke, which may impact hearing.  High blood pressure itself also increases your risk of developing hearing loss. High blood pressure also can cause tinnitus or ringing in the ears. 

Additionally, studies have shown people with diabetes are more than twice as likely to develop hearing loss as those who do not have the disease. Poor weight control is the most common cause of Type 2 diabetes mellitus.

There is no doubt that “auditory health” is enhanced by being at a more ideal body weight.  Yet another great reason to stay steadfast and focused on your weight control efforts.

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