Regardless of whether you enjoy going to the gym or prefer quiet walks in Harbor Island Park, getting regular physical activity has countless benefits to your health and overall well-being. One benefit you may not have known about, however, is that exercise may lower your risk of hearing loss.
Studies Show Active Older Adults Have Better Hearing
A recent compared the exercise habits of 291 adults between the ages of 60-69 to look at the association between physical activity and hearing loss.
The results of the study showed that participants with hearing loss engaged in less physical activity of all types and spent more time engaging in sedentary behaviors than those with normal hearing. Benefits were seen regardless of whether participants engaged in light, moderate or vigorous physical activity.
How Exercise Can Help Your Hearing
Exercise gets your blood pumping and improves circulation to your entire body, including your ears and your brain. Sensorineural hearing loss, the most common type of hearing loss, occurs when either the hair cells in your inner ear or your auditory nerve are damaged.
While many factors, including noise exposure, genetics and certain medications, can cause this damage, health issues like heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes can also cause harm by reducing blood flow to your ears. Exercise can help prevent or even reverse some of these conditions and help your hearing.
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 Exercise Completely Prevent Hearing Loss?
Unfortunately, there’s no way to completely prevent hearing loss as it is sometimes caused by factors that are out of your control. However, exercise can certainly help to minimize your risk, and it’s important to take whatever steps you can to prioritize your hearing health. Other ways to do this include:
- Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet.
- Avoid exposure to loud noise and use hearing protection like earplugs in loud environments.
- Having regular checkups with your primary care provider to manage any health conditions that could contribute to hearing loss.
- Scheduling a hearing test if you are over 50, regularly exposed to loud noise or have noticed changes in your hearing.
If you do develop hearing loss, hearing aids and other assistive listening devices can help make it easier to process sounds and let you stay active and engaged.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, contact San Diego ENT today.