While regular exercise has a myriad of benefits, that doesn’t mean there aren’t risks as well. In fact, it may surprise you to learn that certain forms of exercise can negatively impact your hearing. Heavy exertion and the noise levels in gyms can both have an effect on your hearing health.
The Link Between Weightlifting & Hearing Damage
If you like to lift heavy weights, you may notice that your ears feel clogged or plugged during exercise. This is because straining while lifting weights causes pressure within the brain, called intracranial pressure, which in turn creates pressure within the ears – similar to what you feel on an airplane at takeoff. This is magnified if you hold your breath while lifting.
To prevent this, clear your ears before lifting by yawning or moving your jaw around. Don’t lift heavier than you are able to, and never hold your breath. If you have a cold or allergies, skip your workout or take a decongestant.
While lifting weights can have a negative effect on hearing, putting them down may be even riskier.
According to Rachel Raphael, M.A., CCC-A, audiologist at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, “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.”
Be sure to follow gym rules about handling weights properly. Try to avoid slamming weights onto the floor, and lift over padded flooring just in case.
The Link Between Exercise Classes & Hearing Damage
Zumba, spin class and many of your other favorite exercise classes typically play loud music to pump you up and make you work harder. But oftentimes the volume in these classes exceeds 90-100 dB – sound levels that can cause permanent damage after just 15 minutes of exposure.
If you leave class feeling like your ears are ringing, this is a good indication the music is too loud. Talk to the trainer or gym manager about keeping the music at a more reasonable volume level, or invest in a pair of earplugs.
For more information about preserving your hearing or to schedule an appointment to talk about custom hearing protection, call the experts at ENT of Georgia today.