Gulf Gate Hearing Aid Center / January 8, 2022
It’s a brand new year and for many of us, that means you may resolve to start this year more active than ever! Many of us will bike, run, or join a gym. Exercise is a resolution that has numerous benefits to your life, such as protecting against many chronic diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, aiding in weight management, improving sleep quality, quelling feelings of anxiety, depression, and improving a sense of well-being. Past all of this, regular exercise can even protect your hearing, by ensuring a regular supply of blood is delivered to the inner ear and ensuring hearing health.
It can be motivating to work out with others. It pushes us past the limits we’d entertain on our own, keeps us focused and committed. Many find listening to loud music adds extra incentive to keep moving. This is why it’s become status quo for many exercise classes to blast music as part of the curriculum. It’s believed that this boosts the energy level of many workout classes, to increase motivation and excitement. If you attend and enjoy classes like this – it’s a major accomplishment to commit and stay with a class. However, the level of the music in your exercise class may be doing more harm than good in the long run for your hearing.
The Dangerous Decibels at the Gym!
It can be uplifting to listen to music while you work out but there is a risk. Sound is measured in decibels and any decibel level over 85 dB can damage your hearing irreversibly. Gymnasiums with high ceilings can increase the volume of the sound as it increases the length of audio vibrations while smaller workout rooms with low ceilings can distort sound making it equally as damaging. A study from George Mason University in Virginia reported that music played during spin classes at fitness clubs in the can reach 100 to 110 dB. To put this in perspective, it is not just the level of exposure but the time. As the decibels increase the amount of time it takes to cause damage does as well. While it can take eight hours of constant exposure for damage to incur – at 100 dB is can take 15 minutes and 110 it can take under one minute!
Side Effects of Working Out
When most people go to work out, they believe they are focusing on their health. While this is true, if you don’t take proper precautions, you could walk away with hearing damage. The ironic aspect of this is that hearing loss if untreated over years can make you less aware of your surroundings. If ignored this can decrease a sense of independence and mobility needed to keep staying active as we age. The Cleveland Clinic reports that noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) affects approximately: 5.2 million children and teens between ages 6 to 19, and 26 million adults between the ages of 20 and 69. NIHL occurs when sound becomes so extreme that it damages the tiny cells which transmit sound to your brain leaving you with a lifetime of progressively declining hearing loss.
Avoid Excess Noise at the Gym
If music motivates you and helps you stay active, it’s important to remember that you can still enjoy it safely. If you love your gym but don’t love how loud they play music, come prepared with hearing protection. Worn correctly foam earplugs are portable, light, and can reduce the decibels in a room by 15 -33 dB. That’s enough to make a significant impact on the longevity and health of your hearing.
Advocate for Your Hearing – and Others!
If the music is so loud you leave with ringing in your ears, you are not the only one at the gym who is at risk of hearing damage. Talk to the gym manager, instructor, or head of exercise classes and ask them to turn down the music. You can still get energized by music even when it’s turned down.
Changes in Hearing?
If you’ve noticed changes in your hearing, it’s important to remember that the sooner you address it, the better. Don’t hesitate to schedule a hearing exam today. We can diagnose your degree of hearing and help you to stay active for years to come.