Can Exercising Cause Hearing Loss?

Can Exercise Cause Hearing Loss

Crash! Bang! Boom!

Are we on a construction site? No, these are just sounds of the gym … or at least some gyms. Between weight lifters dropping heavy weights, coaches yelling words of encouragement, and loud music cranking to keep everyone’s spirits up, gyms can be noisy places. Can working out in them, or exercising in general, result in hearing loss?

Relationship between exercise and hearing loss

Exercise is often seen as a way to prevent hearing loss or maintain already healthy hearing. This is because regular exercise can help with weight management, diabetes prevention, and improved circulation, all factors that can have an impact on hearing health.

4 ways exercising can lead to hearing loss

So, if exercise is so great, how could it potentially cause hearing loss? The answer lies in the type of exercise and how it is done. Healthy Hearing offers these factors to consider when working out:

  1. Weightlifting – Holding your breath or straining while lifting heavy weights can increase pressure inside the skull, including your ears. This is why some weight lifters notice a full sensation in their ears during or after lifting. Although this may not cause hearing loss immediately, repeated episodes of increased intracranial pressure can cause damage to delicate ear parts, especially those of the inner ear.
  2. Dropping weights – In addition to the heavy lifting dangers mentioned above, dropping weights can also be of concern. Some gyms do not have carpeted or matted floors, causing the weight drop to be very loud and intense. This can lead to a temporary case of tinnitus or even permanent hearing loss if continually repeated. Using padded floors in the gym is a great way to prevent this from happening.
  3. Loud music – Pumping energizing tunes is often a way to get gym members more enthused about their workout. When the music is too loud, either through speakers or individual headphones, this can lead to noise-induced hearing loss.
  4. Perilymphatic fistulas – This is the technical name for a small tear between the inner and middle ear. It can result from undue strain or pressure, sometimes caused by strenuous exercise. Due to the tear, fluid can then pass from the inner ear into the middle ear, resulting in hearing changes such as tinnitus or abnormal hearing sensitivity.

How to prevent exercise-induced hearing loss

Do we recommend staying away from exercise altogether? No! The health benefits of exercise are far too great to ignore. What we do recommend is being smart in how you exercise. Here are a few things to keep in mind that will help protect your hearing:

  • Wear hearing protection – If you absolutely must do your workout in a noisy gym, wear earplugs to lessen the volume.
  • Exercise carefully – Don’t lift weights that are too heavy for you, and don’t hold your breath during weight lifting or any other exercise.
  • Avoid dangerous sports – Use your head and don’t choose to participate in sports that are prone to head injury!

Professional hearing help is only a phone call away

Whether you’re looking for ways to protect your hearing, or you’ve already experienced hearing changes and want to get a hearing test, your audiologist is a great resource. Your hearing health is too important to ignore … schedule an appointment with a hearing professional today and get on the road to better hearing for life!

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