Hearing & Health

Eating Disorders And Your Hearing Health

Young woman looking at herself in a mirror outside.

There are two eating disorders–anorexia and bulimia nervosa–that should get more attention than they do. They are life-threatening conditions that affect people the world over. Besides affecting, over time, your organs, hair, skin, and eyes, your ears can also be affected. There’s information on promoting a healthy attitude about eating.

How Anorexia Affects The Body

Anorexia is extreme weight loss and self-starvation. Usually, it is accompanied by excessive exercise. Comments about feeling fat often also coincide with the condition. With your body being deprived of nutrients needed to function, here’s what can happen:

  • Hair loss and dry skin/hair
  • Severe dehydration (leads to kidney failure)
  • Overall body weakness
  • Abnormally slow heart rate and low blood pressure
  • Osteoporosis (brittle bones)

Anorexia can also precipitate a rare condition that causes your voice and respiration to sound abnormal. Rapid weight loss around the neck can cause the Eustachian tube to spread out. This tube connects your ears, nose, and throat. The tube remains open when it should normally close. As a result of not closing when it should, tinnitus and distorted sounds can occur. For example, you will hear breathing in your ears.

Bulimia is a ritual of binge eating with self-induced vomiting. Swollen jaws or cheeks can occur, as well as staining of the teeth. Here’s a list of what can happen:

  • Tooth decay and staining
  • Electrolyte imbalance (can lead to irregular heartbeat and heart failure)
  • Irregular bowel movements
  • Damage to the digestive system

Preventing Eating Disorders

Here’s what you can do to help someone with these disorders:

  • Raise his or her self-esteem with positive comments
  • Do not joke around about body image
  • Be a role model by exhibiting healthy behavior, like eating right
  • Do not cause guilt about eating

Anorexia is another way that can affect your hearing for the worse. If you would like to know more about preserving your hearing, please contact a hearing instrument specialist at Pure Sound Hearing Aids.

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