London - Being overweight can increase your risk of going deaf, researchers found.
A 20-year study of nearly 70 000 women found those who gained the most weight were more likely to lose their hearing.
And although the study focused on women, the findings apply equally to men, the researchers said.
Until now, it was thought the only way to slow age-related deafness was to protect the ears against loud noise.
But study also found that regular physical activity – such as walking at least two hours a week – could reduce the risk of hearing loss by around 15 percent.
Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that very overweight women with a body mass index (a measure of whether weight is healthy in relation to height) of 40 or higher were 25 percent more likely to have damaged hearing than women with a healthy BMI of 25 or lower.
And women with waists bigger than 34.5in were 27 percent per cent more likely to be hard of hearing than those with waistlines of less than 28in.
The risks of obesity were evident even when researchers took account of other factors known to affect hearing, such as smoking.
It’s not clear exactly how being overweight damages delicate cells in the ear. But the researchers, whose work is published in the American Journal of Medicine, suggested fatty deposits could clog up blood vessels in the ear, limiting blood supply and therefore damaging cells. - Daily Mail