Several factors may affect your quality of hearing as you grow older, reports Science Daily.

Researchers from the Brigham Women’s Hospital analyzed data on 68,421 women who participated in a previous Nurses’ Health Study II and discovered a significant connection between body mass index (BMI), waistline circumference, and hearing loss. They found that those with a BMI of 30 to 34 increased their risk of impairment by 17 percent, while those with an index of 40 and above pushed the risk up to 25 percent.

Meanwhile, data on waist circumference showed that those whose measurements ranged from 80 to 88 cm raised their risk of hearing loss by 11 percent, while those with measurements greater than 88 cm had a 27 percent higher chance of developing the condition compared with those whose waist circumference was less than 71 cm.

Although the outlook may seem bleak, researchers report that it is possible to counter hearing impairments linked to obesity, as a higher level of physical activity seemed to successfully lower the risk. In fact, women who were regularly active were found to have a 17 percent lesser chance of developing hearing loss.

Walking, in particular, has been associated with this turnaround; researchers recommend going around the block for at least two hours a week to help fight obesity, and in turn, maintain ear health.

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(Photo by Jordan Fischer via Flickr Creative Commons)

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