Better Hearing Through Working Out

Still trying to follow through on the New Year’s resolution to exercise more? Looking for some extra incentive?

Well, better hearing might just be the ticket.

There is quite a lot of research that links hearing health with general health, especially regular exercise.

One Miami University study found that, for those over the age of 50, exercising at least 5 times a week for 20 minutes made them likely to have hearing analogous to that of an average person in their 30s. Several other studies have had similar “exercise equals better hearing” outcomes.

The physiological reason is fairly clear-cut. Good blood circulation means healthier ears, especially crucial parts of the inner ear.

The most important of these is the fine hair cells that are part of the cochlear. This is where sound waves are transformed into the electrical current that our brains perceive. To maintain their health, it’s important they receive a healthy flow of nutrients—including oxygen—from the bloodstream. And since these hairs, the cilia, don’t regenerate when damaged, it’s very important to keep them healthy.

If too many cilia are damaged, hearing is bound to suffer.

That’s where getting in some exercise, especially as we get older, is vitally important to hearing health.

And a full-on regimen of extreme workouts isn’t needed. The studies tying exercise and better hearing together were based on as little as 3 hours of walking, jogging, biking, or swimming a week. Really, anything that gets a person up and moving for a little while.

So, if you’re hearing is important to you, now’s a great time to meet those expectations you started the year with.