October is Audiology Awareness Month, which makes it the perfect time to learn about ways to protect your hearing health. Turns out, one way to lower your risk of developing hearing loss is to get regular physical exercise.
Research Shows Physical Activity Lowers Hearing Loss Risk
A 2021 study wanted to see if there was an association between hearing health and exercise. To do so, researchers looked at the physical activity levels of 291 adults between the ages of 60–69 and compared that to the results from their hearing tests.
The results showed that participants with hearing loss engaged in less physical activity and spent more time being sedentary than those of the same age with normal hearing.
Additionally, benefits to hearing health were shown across all activity levels, be it light, moderate or vigorous physical activity.
Why Exercise Improves Your Hearing Health
Whether you like lifting weights at home, taking a fitness class at a local gym or taking regular walks through East Boise River Trail, exercise gets your blood pumping, which does two things for your hearing health.
Firstly, it improves circulation to your inner ears and your auditory nerve. Damage to these areas is the leading cause of sensorineural hearing loss (the most common type of hearing loss) and can occur due to a disruption in blood flow to these areas.
Secondly, regular physical activity is known to reduce your risk of developing other health conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. These conditions have also been linked to an increased risk of hearing loss.
How Much Exercise Should You Aim For?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults should aim for 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week. However, it’s important to remember that everyone is different, and if you are new to exercise or plan to start a new regimen, talk to your doctor about what is safe.
Can You Still Develop Hearing Loss Even if You Exercise?
While exercise is beneficial to hearing health, people who are physically active may still develop hearing loss. There are many different factors that can cause hearing loss, including noise exposure, genetics and aging, to name a few.
If you or a loved one has noticed a change in your hearing, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment for a hearing test. Though hearing loss cannot be reversed, treatment options like hearing aids can help keep you active and connected to the things you care about the most.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, call Southwest Idaho ENT today.