A Possible Link Between Exercise & Reduced Risk for Hearing Loss

A Possible Link Between Exercise & Reduced Risk for Hearing Loss

Leanne E. Polhill, LHAS, BC-HIS, BA Diet & Nutrition, Ear Health, Hearing Loss, Hearing Loss Causes, Hearing Loss Prevention, Lifestyle & Leisure, Research

Leanne E. Polhill, LHAS, BC-HIS, BA
Latest posts by Leanne E. Polhill, LHAS, BC-HIS, BA (see all)

We all know that regular exercise lifts your mood, strengthens your body, and provides many other lifestyle benefits. And now, according to a recent study, instituting a regular fitness routine may also reduce your risk for hearing loss later in life. 

It could help prevent age-related hearing loss

A study conducted at Johns Hopkins University showed a clear link between low levels of physical activity and increased incidence of hearing loss. While not all cases of hearing loss are preventable, age-related hearing loss certainly could be. 

Age-related hearing loss affects one in three adults over the age of 65. This type of hearing loss occurs naturally as the body ages along with the auditory system. The tiny, sensitive nerve cells of the inner ear fall victim to the passage of time and no longer function like the bright and shiny receptors they once were. 

The scourge of noise-induced hearing loss

Hearing loss as a result of genetics or a traumatic event is certainly unpreventable. However, many incidences of hearing loss can be lessened by incorporating good habits into your lifestyle. 

Noise-induced hearing loss occurs when your ears are exposed to dangerously loud sounds repeatedly. While this won’t cancel out the effects of time on your body’s systems, it can help to reduce the effects of noise damage to those delicate nerve cells of the inner ear, alleviating some of the potential damage. Carefully monitoring your listening environments and being thoughtful about how your ears are exposed to sound is one such way. This is a significant area to focus attention on in this age of earbuds and personal technology devices.

How exercise can help reduce hearing loss risk

Experts are aware that the proper functioning of the auditory system requires healthy blood flow. We might even say that the increased blood flow resulting from a regular exercise regime is enough to lessen the risk of hearing loss. 

Moreover, a regular exercise routine helps to maintain your current hearing. Researchers have found that when mice are left sedentary, the actual structures of their auditory systems begin to collapse. Active mice in this experiment showed no change in the many structures that support healthy hearing.

What’s the best exercise?

The best exercise that you can do to prevent hearing loss is the activity you’ll do regularly. 

Don’t think that signing up for a gym membership in January and never actually visiting throughout the year is enough to protect you from a hearing loss diagnosis. 

However, a brief twenty-minute walk you’ll take daily is enough to bump up your odds of avoiding this diagnosis.

Of course, one of the side effects of exercise is an inclination to more. Perhaps year one is just a twenty-minute walk as your mind and body adjust to this new habit, but maybe you’ll want to branch out into a favorite sport from there. 

Exercise is a form of self-care

When you exercise, remember that you are rewarding your body, not punishing it. The mindset you take into your exercise routine can make all the difference. If you’re viewing your half-hour or hour of exercise each day as a punishment, the motivation to continue such a habit decreases, and you’ll probably find yourself making excuses to skip a session.

Instead, focus on all the positives around your activities. Your body feels better, your mind is more relaxed, and you may even be enjoying the strength and ability of your body in ways you never have before. This is because our bodies were built to move and exert effort, so in many ways, you’re simply giving your body its proper medicine.

There’s no end to its benefits

If a hearing loss develops or becomes a condition you’re dealing with, a regular exercise program is a healthy way to process the emotions and stress of hearing loss. Additional benefits include mood stabilization and how it induces a post-workout calm. This mental state puts you in the best position to take other areas of your life. For more information on hearing loss or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!