Hearing loss affects millions of people worldwide and can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life. While various treatment options are available for hearing loss, prevention is always the best approach. Exercise has been found to reduce the risk of hearing loss, and this piece will explore the evidence behind this claim.
How Exercise Helps Prevent Hearing Loss
Exercise can help prevent hearing loss in several ways. Firstly, it can improve cardiovascular health, which can help to maintain healthy blood flow to the ears. This can help to prevent damage to the delicate structures of the inner ear, which can cause hearing loss. Secondly, exercise can improve overall health, including reducing the risk of conditions such as diabetes, which can contribute to hearing loss. Finally, exercise can help reduce stress, contributing to hearing loss.
Various types of exercise can be effective in preventing hearing loss. These include aerobic exercise, resistance training, and yoga. Aerobic exercises, such as jogging, swimming, or cycling, can improve cardiovascular health and blood flow to the ears. Resistance training, such as weightlifting, can help to strengthen the muscles around the ears, which can help to protect them from damage. Yoga can help to reduce stress and improve overall health.
Studies on exercise and hearing loss
A recent study published in the Journal of Neuroscience by the University of Florida in the US has revealed that regular exercise can help prevent or significantly slow down age-related hearing loss. Researchers examined the auditory system of mice, comparing active mice to those who were sedentary. While the active mice maintained healthy hearing, the sedentary mice had more ear damage.
The sedentary mice had fewer functioning hair cells, which are delicate cells deep within the ear that convert sound waves into electrical impulses for the brain to interpret. They also had fewer spiral ganglions, nerve cells that transmit sound signals from the ear to the brain. Additionally, blood flow to the ears was reduced, meaning that the ears weren’t receiving enough oxygen to remain healthy. Active mice lost these cells at a much slower rate and retained clear hearing for a longer period. Only 20% of sedentary mice had healthy hearing, while 95% of active mice maintained their hearing.
Research conducted by the US-based John Hopkins University on exercise and hearing loss in humans has also yielded similar results. Seniors who engaged in at least three hours of physical activity a week had lower rates of hearing loss compared to those who did not exercise at all. This suggests that even light activities, such as a 25-minute daily walk, can have significant benefits on hearing health.
Examples of exercises that are particularly beneficial for hearing health include:
- Cardiovascular exercises such as running, swimming, or cycling.
- Yoga poses such as the downward dog or the cobra pose.
- Resistance training exercises such as the shoulder press or the lateral raise.
The Importance of Early Treatment for Hearing Loss
While exercise can help prevent hearing loss, it is important to seek early treatment if you are experiencing hearing loss symptoms. Early intervention can help to prevent further hearing loss and improve your overall quality of life. Treatment options for hearing loss include hearing aids, cochlear implants, and assistive listening devices.
Furthermore, hearing loss can have a significant impact on your mental health, including increasing the risk of depression and social isolation. Seeking early treatment can help to improve your mental health and prevent these negative outcomes.
In conclusion, exercise has been found to be an effective way to reduce the risk of hearing loss. By improving cardiovascular health, reducing stress, and improving overall health, exercise can help to protect the delicate structures of the inner ear and prevent hearing loss. However, it is important to seek early treatment if you are experiencing hearing loss symptoms to prevent further damage and improve your overall quality of life.
At our hearing practice, we offer a range of hearing tests and treatment options to help individuals with hearing loss. If you are experiencing hearing loss symptoms or are concerned about your hearing health, we encourage you to visit our practice for a consultation. By taking care of your hearing health, you can improve your quality of life and prevent the negative consequences of untreated hearing loss.