High Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist circumference are associated with an increased risk of hearing loss.
Anil K. Lalwani, M.D., Professor and vice-chair for research at Colombia University’s Department of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery, undertook significant studies in the area and found the following:
- An obese teenager is almost twice as likely to develop a low frequency hearing loss
- 15.16% of obese adolescents experienced sensorineural hearing loss
- 7.89% of non-obese teens suffered from a hearing loss by comparison
- 80% of adolescents with hearing loss were unaware of having hearing difficulty
Since this study has shown how early injury to the inner ear could lead to a loss of hearing as the adolescent becomes an obese adult, Lalwani suggests hearing screenings for these adolescents on a regular basis to protect them from hearing loss in the future.
There are endless reasons why it is so vital to look after our children’s health and prevent them from becoming overweight or obese. Not only does it put unnecessary strain on their organs, muscles and boneswat such a young age, it can also affect their senses.
As a parent, how can you prevent your child from becoming obese?
- Limit their intake of saturated fats in cakes, biscuits, pastries, processed meats, pizza, fried foods and cream. Replace these with healthy unsaturated fats including olive oil, avocado and nuts.
- Limit their intake of foods with added salt and sugar. Keep fast food, chocolate and ice cream as occasional treat foods.
- Ensure their diet is based around plenty of vegetables, fruits, dairy (if tolerated), lean proteins and healthy unsaturated fats.
- Ensure they drink plenty of water instead of fruit juices, soft drinks and energy drinks.
- Limit screen time and encourage physical activity. This could mean signing them up for a social sport or simply making sure they get outside and play for 30 minutes a day.
We recommend you follow the Australian Dietary Guidelines to keep your child healthy and energetic and promote strong bones, muscles and a healthy mind.
If your child is currently overweight or you are concerned they could be obese, speak to your GP about the guidance and support available to get their health on track.
- Yeo (2016) Relationship between obesity and hearing loss, Acta Oto-Laryngologica, 136:10, 1046-1050, DOI: 10.1080/00016489.2016.1179787. Sang Hoon Kim, Yong Sung Won, Myung Gu Kim, Young Jin Baek, In-Hwan Oh & Seung Geun
- Obesity is associated with sensorineural hearing loss in adolescents. Lalwani AK1, Katz K, Liu YH, Kim S, Weitzman M.Laryngoscope. 2013 Dec;123(12):3178-84. doi: 10.1002/lary.24244. Epub 2013 Jun 17.