Being overweight can increase your risk of going deaf, researchers found.
A 20-year study of nearly 70,000 women found those who gained the most weight were more likely to lose their hearing.
And although the study focused on women, the findings apply equally to men, the researchers said.
Until now, it was thought the only way to slow age-related deafness was to protect the ears against loud noise.
But the study also found that regular physical activity – such as walking at least two hours a week – could reduce the risk of hearing loss by around 15 per cent.
The findings come from the Nurses Health Study, one of the biggest health research projects ever undertaken, which has been tracking the well-being of thousands of female nurses in the US since the 1980s.
Every two years for two decades the nurses were quizzed on health and lifestyle, including their dietary habits, weight and hearing loss.
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