There’s no doubt that exercise has a myriad of benefits for the body and mind. But if you’re not careful while you work out, you can hurt yourself – including your hearing. Below is an overview of the risks of certain types of exercises associated with hearing loss.
Weightlifting and Hearing Loss
Heavy exertion caused by lifting weights causes intracranial pressure, otherwise known as pressure in the brain, which in turn causes pressure in the ears. Holding your breath during exertion only magnifies this experience, which is not unlike pressure changes on an airplane during takeoff and landing.
To prevent intracranial pressure while lifting weights, clear your ears by yawning or moving your jaw around. Don’t lift weights that are too heavy for you and never hold your breath while lifting. If you have nasal congestion, take a decongestant or skip the workout.
In addition to this pressure in the ears, weightlifting can pose a hazard to your hearing in that the sound of dropping weights on the gym floor can be ear-splitting.
“I never actually took a sound level meter to the smashing of weights in a weight room, but it is likely that even short durations of loud intense weights dropping, can have the same potential damage to hearing as a shotgun blast or an airbag deploying,” explained Rachel Raphael, M.A., CCC-A, audiologist at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore and certified group fitness instructor.
To prevent this damage, always lift weights over padded flooring or wear earplugs.
Fitness Classes & Hearing Loss
In order to motivate patrons to work hard and burn extra calories, fitness instructors tend to crank up the volume of their workout playlists to an unsafe noise level – oftentimes over 90-100 dB. For reference, any sound over 85 dB can cause permanent damage. The music combined with the instructor shouting encouragement and the sound of stationary bikes, ellipticals or crashing weights can cause damage to your hearing.
If you leave your exercise class with ringing ears, this is a good indication the music is too loud. Ask your gym to limit the decibel outputs on the music or wear earplugs to your exercise class to limit this risk.
For more information about the link between exercise and hearing loss, talk to an expert at the Hearing & Balance Center at Charleston ENT today.