Could your workout routine cause hearing loss?
When trying out your fitness routine, pay attention to how loud you turn up the volume of your workout playlist to avoid hearing loss.
Around 50% of people between the ages of 12 and 35 – roughly 1.1 billion people worldwide – are at risk of hearing loss due to prolonged and excessive exposure to loud sounds, including music transmitted by personal audio devices.
If you constantly listen to loud music or turn up the volume of your headset to the highest volume, you are at risk of developing hearing loss. Once you start losing your hearing, you can’t reverse it and treatment becomes the best option. However, in many cases, noise-induced hearing loss is preventable.
Consider these tips that can help you protect your ears during and after a workout:
1. Follow the 60-60 rule to prevent hearing loss
Headphones and earbuds can produce up to 110 decibels, which is equivalent to the volume of a live rock concert. At this point, hearing loss can occur after just a few minutes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
To help reduce your risk, consider following the 60–60 rule when using headphones. This means limiting listening to 60 minutes a day at just 60% of the device’s maximum volume. In some cases, you can set this as a custom limit.
2. Understand the Risks With Earpieces (earbuds)
Earpieces are usually placed deeper into the ear canal than traditional headphones and loud noises can put the ear follicles at greater risk of damage. As an alternative, consider using larger noise-canceling headphones that sit directly over the ear, rather than in the ear. This increases the distance between your eardrums and the audio and can help reduce the risk of damage.
When choosing earpieces, consider choosing those with noise-canceling properties, which can allow you to keep the volume down.
3. Exercise Without Music
Although workouts and music may seem to go well side-by-side, sometimes there can be benefits to kicking off a workout playlist. Quiet time can benefit both your mind and body, as it can:
- lower blood pressure
- decrease heart rate
- regularise breathing
- lessen muscle tension
- increase attention and cognition
Consider turning off the music so you can focus on your fitness or enjoy the benefits of nature if you exercise outside.
Also, while no specific food can prevent hearing loss, a balanced diet can play a role in your overall hearing health. Researchers have found that foods high in potassium, zinc, and folic acids — such as bananas, almonds, and spinach — can help maintain your hearing health as you age.