1. Hearing loss one of the effects of obesity

    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.

  2. Natural cures for the ringing in the ear called tinnitus

    Sound therapy helps beat tinnitus

    You don't have to be particularly religious to appreciate the melodic ringing of church bells. But a ringing in the ears is another story.

    It's a condition called tinnitus, and it can range from a slight and occasional nuisance to a constant and maddening presence.

    There's no drug that'll cure it, but natural therapies can work wonders. And now, researchers say some cases of tinnitus can be eased through a combination of simple talk therapy and a little bit of relaxing ocean sounds.

    In the new study, 247 tinnitus patients were sent to audiologists but not given any specific treatment other than whatever that audiologist recommended.

    Another 245 patients were sent off for a combination of two treatments: a sound machine pumping out calming ocean waves in an attempt to "retrain" the ears, and cognitive behavioral therapy (that's a type of psychotherapy).

    A year later, these combo patients reported improvements in quality of life as well as less fear and fewer negative thoughts related to the condition, according to the study in Lancet.

    But it wasn't exactly a cure, either, because the ringing was still there -- the treatments just helped the patients to live with it better.

    That might be an improvement for patients who suffer from tinnitus caused by psychological factors. But most cases of tinnitus have a real cause inside the body -- and a much better and more permanent solution is to find that cause and correct it.

    In many cases, tinnitus is the result of poor blood circulation in the inner ear. Neither talk therapy nor the sounds of ocean waves -- or even the two together -- will do a thing to correct that. But circulation-enhancing supplements such as ginkgo biloba or vinpocetine can improve blood circulation and improve the condition.

    For many other tinnitus patients, the real "cure" isn't a cure so much as avoiding the cause.

    Caffeine, nicotine, and food sensitivities can all cause or worsen the condition. It's also a side effect of common drugs, including antidepressants, diuretics, aspirin, NSAIDs, and antibiotics.

    Learn to find and tune out the cause, and you can tune out the ringing for good. The ocean sounds are nice, but they're entirely optional.

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