Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA. examined 20 years’ worth of health studies of female nurses looking to see if body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and physical activity had any associations with hearing loss.
The study’s authors understood the negative effects of untreated hearing loss, noting how it “can impair communication and social interaction, and adversely affect psychosocial well-being and quality of life” — and they wanted to identify “modifiable lifestyle factors” (things people could do on their own) to help reduce the prevalence of hearing loss.
The study found that female nurses with higher BMI and larger waist circumferences were “associated independently with an increased risk of hearing loss,” but that when physical activity was factored in — including walking, swimming, aerobics and even lower-intensity exercise — the risk of hearing loss decreased.
As the researchers note, “our findings suggest that walking 2 hours or more per week may reduce risk of hearing loss.”
So, if you’re looking for a good reason to exercise and maintain a healthy weight, now you can add “could reduce the risk of hearing loss” to what is already a very big list of good reasons.