Is Your Child’s Weight Putting Them At Risk For Hearing Loss?

One out of every three kids in the United States is overweight or obese. And in addition to their increased risk of developing cancer, cardiovascular disease and depression, new research shows that there may be a link between childhood obesity and hearing loss. Is your child at risk?

Researchers at Columbia University medical school completed a study on 1500 obese teenagers between the ages of 12-19, and found that 15 percent of them had some degree of sensorineural hearing loss. Less than 8 percent of healthy-weight teens suffered the same hearing loss.

Hearing Loss Can Continue Into Adulthood

While the exact cause of the hearing loss in obese teenagers is unknown, research indicates that high levels of blood fats and cholesterol can damage the sensitive blood vessels in the inner ear, just as it does in adults. For obese teenagers who don’t get their weight under control, further hearing loss could occur into adulthood.

An Audiologist Can Offer Solutions

All teenagers – particularly those who struggle to maintain a healthy weight – should have regular hearing tests performed by an experienced audiologist. The first test will set the baseline for how well the teen hears now, and whether or not there is any hearing loss. Later testing will determine if any further hearing loss has occurred. An experienced audiologist will not only test the teen’s hearing, but will offer solutions to keep his hearing healthy.

Hearing Loss Can Lead To Problems At School

Previous studies have shown that 80% of teens that have hearing loss don’t realize that their hearing is impaired. At the same time, teens with hearing impairment suffer from more cognitive and behavioral issues than teens with normal hearing, making it especially important that their hearing is evaluated regularly. Cognitive and behavioral issues in teens can lead to poor performance in school and social isolation.

Take Your Teen To An Audiologist

If you know a teenager – especially a teenager who is overweight – help them get a hearing test immediately. An early start is the best way to ensure healthy hearing for life.