Teen obesity tied to hearing loss
Add hearing loss to the potential negative effects of obesity, even for teenagers. Researchers at Columbia University say that obese teenagers are more at risk of having poorer hearing over all frequencies and double the risk of low-frequency hearing loss in one ear.
The scientists studied 1,488 teenage boys and girls, controlling for such factors as poverty, sex, race and exposure to loud noises, all of which could affect hearing. And they found that those at or above the 95th percentile of body mass index – the definition of obesity among teens – tended to have poorer hearing and a higher likelihood of hearing loss. While the exact reason is not known, the results suggest that obesity-related inflammation can be a factor in organ damage.
Previous studies have linked hearing loss in adults with obesity, but this is the first to make this connection in teenagers. Doctors fear that the preliminary hearing loss exhibited in teens could represent an early stage of injury to the ears that will progress, as it does in adults.