Hearing Loss Is Another Health Risk to Childhood Obesity

Hearing Health & Technology Matters
August 13, 2013

In HHMT blogs we have covered hearing loss associated with Cardiovascular disease , diabetes and a variety of other conditions.  This week we focus on a study published in June in The American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society, Inc which links Childhood Obesity and sensorineural hearing loss in adolescents.

obesity 1First, how is Obesity defined?  The Body Mass Index (BMI) is used to identify individuals who are overweight  or obese.  It is calculated by using weight and height.  Body fat is not measured directly, but is indicated by this number.  Overweight is defined as a BMI at or above the 85th percentile and lower than the 95th for those of the same age and sex.  Obese is a BMI at or above the 95th percentile.  This study showed that children who had a BMI in the obese category were more likely to show elevated Pure Tone thresholds and at greater risk for unilateral (one side) low-frequency sensorineural hearing loss.

Since childhood obesity is associated with other health-related problems such as Cardiovascular disease and diabetes, there is an urgent need to educate those who are at risk.  Other health issues aside, these conditions lead to hearing loss as well and can start a cycle of worsening hearing loss.  This can be a vicious cycle when it comes to health (depression) and work.  Studies suggest that people with more severe hearing losses do not make as much income as those without hearing loss:

This just adds to the argument.  There was some good news recently  showing that during the period 2008-2011 there was a significant drop in the obesity trend among children in 18 states and the Virgin Islands.  Hopefully we can continue this downward trend for the sake of everyone’s future.

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