Lose weight, save your hearing

Looks like losing weight can do more than just help you to look and feel better and prevent diabetes, dementia and heart disease.

It might also save your hearing -- because new research on the effects of obesity confirms that obesity is a major risk factor for hearing loss.

And the bigger you get, the higher that risk.

If your BMI is between 30 and 39, your risk of hearing loss jumps by up to 22 percent, according to the study of nearly 70,000 women (and I bet you'd find similar numbers in men). If your BMI hits 40, your risk climbs even higher -- to 25 percent.

And if your waistline passes 34 inches, your risk of hearing loss jumps by 27 percent, regardless of your weight. In other words, even if you're not obese, having too much around your middle will still cause the effects of obesity to increase your risk of hearing loss.

The reason is simple: Like the rest of your body, your ears rely on good circulation to function right. Obesity, or too much fat in your midsection, will inhibit your circulation, as will the sedentary lifestyle that almost always is one of the effects of obesity.

When your circulation is restricted, your ears don't get enough blood -- and when they don't get enough blood, they don't get enough of the oxygen and nutrients that come along with it.

Losing weight will help you to improve circulation and restore the flow of blood to your ears, hopefully before you suffer any permanent damage. And of course the best way to shed some pounds and improve circulation is with a little exercise.

Walking for even just four hours a week -- not much, but at least it's a good start -- can actually cut your risk of hearing loss by about 15 percent, according to the study.

Get more movement, and you might see even better results.

Along with weight loss, there are two supplements I recommend to improve circulation, including circulation in the ear: ginkgo biloba and vinpocetine. You can find them at any quality natural health store.