A study by Columbia University Medical Center has found obese teens have a nearly doubled risk of developing hearing loss than their normal-weight peers.
The study analyzed data from 1,488 participants ages 12 to 19 who were part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2005 to 2006. Researchers determined that 15.16 percent of the participants who were obese experienced hearing difficulties while only 7.89 percent of the normal-weight participants experienced any hearing issue.
Study researcher Dr. Anil K. Lalwani, M.D., a professor and vice chair of research of Columbia’s Department of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery, said,” because previous research found that 80 percent of adolescents with hearing loss were unaware of having hearing difficulty, adolescents with obesity should receive regular hearing screenings so they can be treated appropriately to avoid cognitive and behavioral issues.”
It is currently thought the link could be due to obesity-related inflammation, diabetes, or heart disease; the latter two have been linked to hearing loss.
Previous research has found a prevalence in noise-induced hearing loss among children and young adults.
Annual hearing consultations are recommended as the best means of preventative care.
Last updated: September 30, 2014