A new year typically means a new resolution.
These promises that we make to ourselves, like getting back to the gym, don’t always feel like they have tangible benefits. But there’s science that shows regular exercise has benefits for your physical and mental health. It can even help with your hearing.
Our sense of hearing isn’t something we tend to consider when we think about exercise, but that might need to change. Research suggests that exercise—going for a walk or jog, doing yoga, playing in the yard with your grandchildren or even gardening or doing housework can have a positive impact on your hearing. For Baby Boomers, cardiovascular exercise is vital to maintaining hearing health.
Research has found that people over age 50 who maintained moderate-to-high cardiovascular fitness levels sustained hearing sensitivity comparable to people in their 30s, effectively delaying presbycusis, age-related hearing loss. According to a study in The Hearing Journal, a person over 50 years old without a genetic predisposition to hearing loss who exercises for 30 minutes five times a week is more likely to maintain a healthy auditory system compared to someone who doesn’t exercise regularly.
Widely practiced for their extensive health benefits, yoga and stretching are healthy forms of cardiovascular exercise. Yoga can even be an effective complementary treatment for ear problems and hearing loss. According to a study in the Journal of Yoga & Physical Therapy, yoga can provide improvement in sensorineural deafness or at the minimum improve quality of life. Yoga practitioners suggest that yoga supports hearing loss prevention and reduces symptoms by improving blood flow to the cochlea and preventing neurotransmitter damage. According to the research, certain yoga poses can even help by increasing circulation in your ear and brain, which helps improve nerve function and removes waste and toxins.
Many studies have confirmed the benefits of yoga as an effective way of reducing stress and anxiety. A study that appeared in the International Archives of Otorhinolaryngology suggests that yoga may even play a role in reducing the symptoms of chronic tinnitus, which is thought to be related to stress. Tinnitus is the perception of sound—often buzzing or ringing—in one or both ears when no sound is present.
As you age, inflammation can damage hair cells, nerve cells and capillaries, so your ears won’t function as well, or even get enough oxygen. Exercise promotes blood circulation throughout your body and stimulates oxygen circulation, protecting against age-related inflammation. Researchers at the University of Florida found that routine cardio provides the necessary blood flow, oxygen and nutrients to maintain the health of important auditory systems within the cochlea. This results in a reduction of inflammation that can damage sensitive and fragile hair cells, as well as capillaries that are key to maintaining healthy hearing.
Cardio Exercise Helps Baby Boomers’ Hearing
There are so many benefits of regular exercise—reducing your risk of heart disease, boosting mood and improving energy and sleep. A study in The American Journal of Medicine found that maintaining a healthy weight and staying active is associated with a lower risk of hearing loss in women. More strenuous types of exercise like running were not tied to an additional reduction in hearing loss. So even if you aren’t a “gym rat,” taking just 30 minutes a day to exercise will create the heart rate and level of circulation necessary to protect your hearing.
Our understanding of the relationship between heart and hearing health has evolved enough that doctors can now even evaluate your hearing to measure your heart’s health and vice versa. Better cardiovascular health results in better circulation of oxygen-rich blood, which can delay or prevent age-related hearing loss.
If you listen to music while exercising, it’s important to keep the volume relatively quiet and comfortable, since repeated exposure to loud noises can damage ear hair cells, which are irreplaceable. The rule is simple, don’t keep the volume more than 60 percent of the total available volume and take a break after 60 minutes of continuous listening.
Schedule Your Hearing Assessment*
Take the first step in having your hearing checked by a licensed hearing professional. It only takes one minute to request an appointment for your hour-long hearing assessment.* Call 866-837-8286 (866-TEST-AT-60) or visit campaignforbetterhearing.us today.