Working out at a gym can help you gain muscle, lose weight and improve your overall health. But if you’re not careful, you can be putting one aspect of your health at risk – your hearing.
Lifting Weights and Hearing Damage
Heavy exertion, which can occur while weightlifting, can cause pressure to build up in the brain (intracranial pressure) and ears. Additional pressure is added to the ears if you hold your breath while straining. This feeling of clogged up ears is similar to the experience of being on an airplane during takeoff.
In order to prevent the plugged-up ear sensation, try clearing your ears before you start by yawning. Never hold your breath while straining to lift something heavy.
In addition to harming your hearing when being lifted up, weights can cause damage when being put back down. Dropping heavy weights on the ground can create a sound loud enough to permanently harm your hearing.
According to Rachel Raphael, a fitness instructor and audiologist, “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.”
To protect yourself, make sure you are lifting weights in the designated area of the gym, which will offer padded flooring. If your gym does not provide such an area, talk to the manager.
Loud Music and Noise-Induced Hearing loss
Gyms use loud music to help pump you up so you can push yourself further. Unfortunately, the volume is usually turned up to an unsafe level. This is especially true in a fitness class.
Sounds over 85 decibels (dB) can cause permanent damage to your hearing, causing noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus. The volume in a fitness class can measure between 90 to 100 dB.
If you leave a class and your hearing is muffled or you hear a ringing, that means the music was too loud.
In order to fix this, try asking the instructor to turn down the volume. If this does not work, a pair of earplugs from your local pharmacy can provide a decent level of hearing protection. If you find yourself regularly attending classes, you may want to invest in a pair of custom-made hearing protection.
Physical fitness is important to maintaining your health, but not at the expense of your hearing. To learn more about protecting your ears, contact the experts at Central Plains ENT.