Teenagers who are obese have been found to be more likely to suffer from hearing loss than their peers who are slimmer. Scientists working in this new study have found that obese adolescents suffered from hearing loss across all frequencies and were in fact almost twice as likely to develop one sided, low frequency hearing loss.
Professor Anil Lalwani of the Department of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery at the Columbia University Medical Center said, 'this is the first paper to show that obesity is associated with hearing loss in adolescents.’ The study has found that obesity in adolescents is associated with sensorineural hearing loss across all frequencies (the frequency range that can be heard by humans). The study further found that obesity in adolescents is associated with sensorineural hearing Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to the inner ear hair cells.
This recent study has found that the highest rates were for low frequency hearing loss about 15 per cent of obese adolescents compared with the 8 per cent of non-obese ones developed the problem.
People with low-frequency hearing loss cannot hear sounds in frequencies 2,000 Hz and below. In most cases they can still understand human speech well, but may have difficulty hearing in groups or in noisy places.
Dr. Lalwani says, 'These results have several important public health implications, because previous research found that 80 per cent of adolescents with hearing loss were unaware of having hearing difficulty, adolescents with obesity should receive regular hearing screening so they can be treated appropriately to avoid cognitive and behavioural issues.'
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