Most of us know that being overweight can affect our heart health, blood pressure, and it raises our risk of developing diabetes — but it often affects far more than we know.

One of the more surprising negative effects of weight gain is hearing impairment.

And it’s just as serious of a problem to tackle as the others.

Individuals with a higher Body Mass Index (BMI) and larger waist circumference have increased risks of developing hearing loss, according to the American Journal of Medicine.

Researchers studied more than 68,000 women over the course of 20 years and discovered that women with BMIs of 30 to 34 have a 17 percent higher risk of hearing loss than those with BMIs of 25 or lower.

Meanwhile, those with a BMI of 35 to 39 have a 22 percent higher, and those with a BMI of 40 or above have a 25 percent higher risk.

Similar results were found when studying waist circumference as well — with the risk for hearing loss going up for women who have waists of 28 inches and above, compared to those with waists under 28 inches.

Thankfully, it’s not all doom and gloom — you don’t have to say goodbye to your hearing just yet.

Researchers found that the those with increased physical activity have a 17 percent chance of lowering their risk of hearing loss.

Simply walking as little as two hours a week can lower your chances by 15 percent.

Dr. Sharon Curhan, lead author of the paper and researcher in the Channing Division of Network Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital told HealthHub, “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.”

Ultimately, this study shows us that an unhealthy lifestyle takes its toll on more than just our hearts and waistlines — but with the proper encouragement and a steady diet plan, you can fulfill a healthy, hearing life.

Hope it helps!

wenzelDr. Aaron Wenzel M.D.| Founder of Bariform

P.S. If you’re experiencing hearing loss (or want to prohibit it), try this:

  • Increase physical activity in your daily life. Short walks during your break at work, evening bike rides or even just parking your car at the back of the lot.
  • Eliminate unnecessary sugar-intake. Make sure your filling any cravings for snacks with healthy options.
  • Adhere to a balanced diet. Talk to your doctor or nutritionist about your options or a support group.