Exercise has a number of benefits, including improving your body and your mind. But it does have some downsides, especially when it comes to your hearing. The two biggest dangers to your hearing while exercising come in the form of lifting weights and listening to music.
Dangers of Weightlifting
When weightlifting, you put your body under a lot of strain. This heavy exertion can cause pressure within the brain, known as intracranial pressure, which can lead to pressure within the ears.
Holding your breath while lifting can put even more pressure on your inner ear. The feeling is similar to when you are on an airplane at takeoff.
Yawn before you start lifting to clear your ears. Try not to push yourself too hard by lifting something too heavy. And never hold your breath while weightlifting.
The sound of dropping weights can be just as dangerous to your ears as picking them up. While we could not find an exact decibel reading, Rachel Raphael, an audiologist and certified group fitness instructor explains, “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.”
Most gyms have started placing padding on the flooring around their free weights area for protection. If you notice someone using the weights in an unsafe manner, specifically dropping them outside of the designated areas, talk to a gym representative. Most gyms have a clause in the contract you sign when you sign up that requires you to follow the rules.
Dangers of Music
Gyms use loud music to pump you up, so you push yourself further and work out harder. But this loud music can put you at risk for noise-induced hearing loss or tinnitus.
This is especially true in group workout classes, where the music can get into the triple digits. Experts agree that anything measuring 85 decibels or higher can be damaging to your hearing.
The best way to protect yourself is to simply ask the instructor to turn the music down. If this does not work, wear hearing protection to the class. Disposable earplugs from your local pharmacy will work in a pinch. If you spend a lot of time at the gym or in exercise classes, you may want to consider investing in custom-made earplugs.
Staying healthy does not need to come at the expense of your hearing health. Contact the experts at San Francisco Audiology to learn more.