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November 28, 2003

Exercise is good for your hearing

Exercise is good for your hearing and may help diminish temporary threshold shifts (TTS).

Several medical studies have shown a correlation between a healthy cardiovascular system and hearing. Exercise promotes a healthy cardiovascular system.

When the ears work, the hair cells in the inner ear convert acoustic vibrations into electrical signals to the brain. Blood flow around the cells in the ear is increased in people in good shape. This may explain why exercise is good for your hearing.

Several weeks of physical training may improve the hearing ability by several dB and strengthen the ear's defenses against noise damage, according to a study reported in Scandinavian Audiology, vol. 27 1998. Women with low body fat and in shape because of regular exercise also were found to experience TTS less frequently than less fit people, according to Medicine and Science In Sports and Exercise, February, 1998.

Studies of people in noisy jobs have shown that people in good physical shape suffer fewer adverse effects from the noise. The risk of hearing loss almost doubled in people in bad shape. Noise may break down the hair cells in the inner ear. The cells are unable to regenerate making ear protection a better preventive measure than exercise, alone.

Sources: Medicine and science in sports and exercise 1998, 30(2): 289-293; Scandinavian Audiology 1998, 27(4): 219-224; Kingsport Times, February 11th, 203

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