How Exercise Can Cause Hearing Loss – What to Know

Woman working out with weights at the gym

It is no secret that exercise is great for the body and mind. However, if your gym is always noisy, then you might want to consider changing your place to work out. You may not know this, but heavy exertion and loud music do not mix well together. In fact, the combination can even lead to hearing loss or tinnitus. 

Why Do Ears Get Clogged Up When Exercising?

Heavy physical exertion leads to intracranial pressure, or pressure within the brain, which then results in pressure within the ears. When you hold your breath while lifting, you are adding even more pressure in the inner ear, which is similar to the pressure change you experience when flying on an airplane. To prevent this, you can clear your ears ahead of time, such as by yawning. Also, do not lift too heavy objects and never hold your breath. If you have a cold, take a decongestant before your training.

What Is the Ringing in the Ears After Exercise?

The heightened pressure in the inner ear during or after intense training can result in a perilymphatic fistula (PLF). This occurs abruptly and most people are not alert to it right away. A PLF is a small tear in the thin membrane between the inner ear and the middle ear. The tear can be a result of the pressure in the inner ear due to straining. When the strain of workouts causes fluid from the inner ear to seep out the tear and into the middle ear, you may experience symptoms such as tinnitus, ear fullness, dizziness, and sensitivity to regular noises.

Loud Music at the Gym

Many gyms try to get gym goers energized and ready for intense training by turning up the tunes too high, sometimes even over 90 to 100 decibels. When loud music is paired with loud noise from stationary bikes, treadmills, and the clanging of heavyweights, you are put at risk for irreversible hearing loss or tinnitus.

If you leave your gym with ringing ears and muted hearing, then it is highly likely that your delicate hair cells in your inner ear are damaged. Make sure that you politely ask your gym to turn down the music to an acceptable volume. Your request may even raise awareness that will be good for everyone in the gym. If this is not possible, you can bring a pair of earplugs with you so that the noise will be turned down to a safer volume.

How to Maintain Healthy Hearing During Your Workout

Regardless of the kind of exercise you are doing, there are certain things that you should and should not do while working out for the sake of hearing. If you experience any change in hearing during or after training, it is imperative that you get a hearing check right away. Also, reduce the weight you are lifting to minimize strain, which could prevent a PLF. Always protect your hearing at the gym by wearing earplugs and keeping headphones at a safe volume to prevent noise-induced hearing loss.

Never hold your breath when doing intense exercise and do not strain during weight lifting. Also, if you are experiencing changes in hearing, avoid sports that can result in blows to the head, such as boxing and wrestling. Be careful not to bang or drop the weights when lifting as the sudden noise can reach as high as 140 decibels, which is similar to being exposed to an explosion. In addition, if you start to experience symptoms of hearing loss, do not neglect them and get your hearing checked out right away.

Know When to Get Help

While getting fit and healthy is important, you must also be aware of the risks to your hearing health as well. If you get feelings of fullness in the ears, muffled hearing, dizziness, or tinnitus after intense exercise, seek help as soon as possible. Go to a trusted hearing healthcare professional who can look at the damage and give recommendations on what you should do next.

If you’re not sure about which hearing aid is best for you, come on down to Fraser Valley Beltone today! We provide extensive & affordable hearing aid tests in Langley, BC. Get in touch today to book your appointment.

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