Everyone knows exercise is good for our physical and mental well-being, improving the health of our heart, muscles, and mind.
However, many people don’t realize that working out can actually pose a risk to your hearing, leading to tinnitus (ringing in the ears) or sudden hearing loss. Audiology & Hearing Aid Solutions in northern New Jersey looks at the ways exercise can affect your hearing, and how you can minimize the risks:
Even if you have your music through your earbuds playing at an acceptable level, there are some noises at the gym beyond your control, including:
- Music played loudly in exercise classes or weight room
- Weights clanking
Straining Blood Vessels
One of the most common ways of damaging your hearing in a workout is straining, which puts pressure on your brain and your ears. This pressure forces air through your Eustachian tubes, responsible for managing pressure in your middle ear. The straining can affect the tubes’ ability to do their job.
Straining may cause a perilymphatic fistula (PLF), a tear in the membrane between the middle and inner ears. A PLF can cause sudden hearing loss and balance problems. This kind of tear also leads to extreme pain and dizziness. If not treated, the sudden hearing loss can become complete and permanent.
Finally, straining can cause Eustachian tube dysfunction, where they become inflamed and air cannot pass through them – making you at greater risk of exercise-induced hearing loss.
If you experience any of these issues, immediately schedule an appointment with a hearing health care professional.
Holding Your Breath
It’s common practice to hold your breath while lifting weights as you focus all of your energy into the movement. Unfortunately, this also increases the pressure on your ears and brain.
Signs of Damaged Hearing
Signs of exercise-related hearing damage include:
- Temporary or frequent tinnitus: If you notice ringing in the ears when you leave the gym or other times, you’re experiencing hearing damage. Tinnitus is a sign of excessive sound exposure.
- Ears feel full: This sensation likely means your ears are being subjected to too much pressure.
- Physical signs: If you’re turning red or have bulging veins in your head or neck, you are at a greater risk of exercise-induced hearing loss.