Most of us are familiar with the benefits of exercise; not only can it improve your memory and mental function, help control your weight and reduce the risk of certain chronic illnesses, but it’s also good for your mind, body and spirit.
While these benefits alone may not be news to you, did you know there may also be a link between exercise and improved auditory function? Researchers at the University of Florida conducted a study on mice looking at this relationship.
Age Related Hearing Loss
The most common cause of hearing loss is age-related deterioration of the auditory system, which appears in nearly two-thirds of adults aged 70 years or older. It occurs gradually over time as the result of damage to the hair cells within the inner ear.
Oxygen is vital to a healthy auditory system. The effect of oxygen on hearing is one of the topics studied by the Florida researchers. They used two groups of mice, one with access to an exercise wheel and one without.
The study suggests that age related inflammation may cause damage to the cells within the inner ear. The group of active mice were able to reduce their inflammation by about 50 percent. The active group also had a much lower rate of auditory damage. The sedentary mice had a hearing loss at a rate of 20 percent, while those in the active group had a rate of only 5 percent.
While this study was only performed on mice, the researchers are hopeful that the results can be applied to human participants in the future.
The scientific community is hopeful that this study may also be applicable to humans. The National Institute of Health is undertaking a research initiative to explore which molecules released during exercise may help maintain auditory health.
Can Exercise Cause Hearing Loss?
Now that we covered the benefits of exercise on hearing loss, let’s look at the potential downside.
During weightlifting, straining and breath holding are often experienced. According to your Cedar Park hearing specialist, straining can cause pressure within the brain, which then leads to pressure within the ears. Breath holding may also lead to more pressure within the inner ear.
This increase in pressure can lead to changes in hearing during or after intense exercise. This is called perilymphatic fistula (PLF). It is a small tear or defect in the eardrum.
There are also plenty of loud things in the gym that can put your ears at risk of noise induced hearing loss. These risks include:
- Listening to loud music with in-ear (bud-style) headphones
- Dropping weights or other equipment, as the sound can be dangerously loud
To learn more about simple changes you can make to improve your hearing loss or to schedule an appointment, contact your Cedar Park hearing specialist today.