This may seem like a strange statement but the reality is that obesity can result in hearing loss. Being overweight is unhealthy from many points of view but recent studies show that there is also a link between obesity and hearing loss.
I can hear you thinking to yourself ‘How on earth can obesity cause hearing loss?” There are actually 2 ways that obesity can affect your hearing:
It’s only recently that research studies have been conducted that showed this link between obesity and hearing loss. In 2013, the Harvard Nurses’ Health Study surveyed 68,000 women and found that those who were obese also developed hearing loss at the age they began the excessive weight gain. However, this study also found that exercise could reduce the risk of hearing loss. Women who walked for four or more hours each week saw their risk for hearing loss drop by about 15 percent compared to women who walked less than an hour a week.
All of these can lead to an increase in workplace accidents and escalating workers compensation costs.
In 2008 a UK occupational physician, Nerys Williams, published an article entitled ‘Managing obesity in the workplace’ in which he stressed that business should not wait for government strategies but should address the problem themselves to ensure their own profitability and sustainability. Enlightened organisations are doing just that by fostering a health-conscious work environment and providing convenient opportunities for their employees to eat better, be more physically active and take better care of themselves overall.
If your workplace is noisy then you are already familiar with Audiometric Testing. However, providing free onsite Audiometric Testing for your workforce is something that every workplace should consider. This will allow you to monitor the hearing of all employees and to ensure that you pick up changes in hearing due to both occupational noise and the results of being overweight. It is a small cost that could save you a significant amount in future workers compensation claims brought about by poor hearing or the consequences of poor hearing.
Overweight or obese workers can develop hearing problems that can significantly impact your business. Being proactive and providing workplace programs that educate your workforce and encourage them to take responsibility for their own health can have far reaching effects - not least of which will be a more productive workplace.
JTA can assist you to develop a workplace program to suit your business. Give us a call on 1300 856 282.
Our article ‘Are you focusing on sick care or well care?’ looks at the research supporting Corporate Wellness programs.