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NewsBites February 2014 Issue

Hearing Loss Linked to Overweight

Here’s a new reason for watching your waistline and keeping active that’s worth listening to: Extra weight and greater waist circumference are linked to a higher risk of hearing loss with aging, while moderate physical activity is associated with reduced risk. A 20-year study of more than 68,000 women, ages 25-42 at the start, found self-reported hearing loss rose with Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist size. Compared to women with a normal BMI of under 25, overweight women (BMI 25-29) had an 8% greater risk—which rose steadily with increased BMI, up to 19% for very obese women (40-plus BMI). On the other hand, physical activity equivalent to four hours of weekly walking was associated with reduced hearing loss.

Publishing their findings in The American Journal of Medicine, researchers speculated that obesity might compromise blood flow to the inner ear, while exercise could improve it.

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