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The Connection Between Physical Activity and Hearing Health

Learn how staying active can help boost your hearing health.

Physical activity and hearing health go hand in hand.

Having a consistent exercise routine is an excellent idea for people of all ages and backgrounds for the overall health benefits it offers. But did you know there’s a strong link between physical activity and hearing health as well?

A study from the University of Florida found that routine cardiovascular exercise “provides the necessary blood flow, oxygen, and nutrients to maintain the health of important auditory systems within the cochlea.” This blood and oxygen flow also helps prevent age-related inflammation, which can contribute to hearing loss.

Exercise also helps boost cellular processes in our ears, which helps them function at their maximum capacity.

If you’re not sure how to tap into this connection between physical activity and hearing health, here are a few ideas to get you started!

Start small
You don’t need to be a triathlete to enjoy the benefits of exercise! Exercising for as little as 16 minutes three times a week has been shown to improve overall health.

With your doctor’s approval, you can start small with walks around your neighborhood and gentle stretching and work your way up to attending a yoga or cycling class or swimming laps at your local pool.

If you have any health conditions or doctors’ advice that prevents you from more strenuous cardiovascular activities or exercises that put stress on your joints, there are still tremendous benefits to practicing low-impact exercises like yoga and pilates! These activities still facilitate that crucial blood flow up into your ears, where it can be put to good use protecting your hearing health.

In addition to the physical health benefits of exercise, you may also enjoy increased endorphins, improved mood, decreased stress, and new social connections!

Exercising safely with hearing loss
If you have hearing loss, there are a few things to consider to make sure you’re exercising safely without further damaging your hearing health. The best way to make sure your fitness journey is safe for your hearing health is to do your research first. Before starting any new exercise, consult with your doctor to discuss what type of physical activity would be best for you.

Sometimes fitness class instructors will use microphones or headsets and loud music to create an energetic class environment, but this can potentially pose a problem for those with hearing loss or who are being mindful of their hearing health.  Some fitness studios will offer earplugs, but it’s a good idea to also bring a set of your own in case none are available. If you’re concerned about following the instructions during class, you could ask about smaller group classes that offer quieter music and more personalized instruction.

If you use hearing aids or other assistive listening devices, you may also want to bring a headband or other protective gear to prevent sweat from damaging the devices.

Physical activity and hearing health go hand in hand, so be sure to find an activity that you enjoy and can see yourself continuing over time so your ears can benefit as well! If you’re not sure where to start, check out these fun exercise ideas!