Can Exercise Help You Hear Better?
It has long been suspected that a lack of blood flow to the inner ear and parts of the brain that control hearing could be the cause of hearing loss.
Recent studies have found that exercise may help you maintain or improve your hearing. Exercise increases blood flow, which would in turn bring more blood to hair cells, cochlea and other auditory functions of the body.
What do studies show about aerobic exercise?
In a study out of the Netherlands, led by lead author Maaike Angevaren, they found that “aerobic physical exercises that improve cardiovascular fitness, also help boost cognitive processing speed, motor function and visual and auditory attention in older people.”
Another study found that women with an increased body mass index showed higher risks of hearing loss. A normal body mass index or BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. A body mass index indicating obesity is 30 or higher.
Women with a BMI exceeding 40 had a 25% higher risk of hearing loss. On the other hand, women with a body mass index below 25 showed a 17% risk of hearing loss.
This study would suggest that maintaining a healthy BMI through regular exercise, could be the key to maintaining hearing health for a longer period of time.
For instance, the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) found that people in their 50s that are in good shape can hear as well as people in their 30s.
Types of exercises or physical activities to consider.
- Housework (yes, even housework)
How much exercise is recommended?
The US Surgeon General’s report on Physical Activity and Health recommends regular aerobic exercise for about 20-30 minutes per day, five days per week.
Regular physical activity helps maintain your cardiovascular health, which is also linked to hearing loss in the form of heart disease.
As we’ve seen exercise is great for you, but if it hasn’t been a normal part of your routine, you should consult a doctor before beginning any exercise regimen. You should also start off with what you can handle and not go overboard. You can always work your way up to more intense activity.