Protect Your Hearing During Exercise

Protect Your Hearing During Exercise

Tone Up Without Tuning Out

As part of a healthy lifestyle, exercise is a key ingredient to staying fit. It doesn’t have to be a chore; it can even be fun. For many, it isn’t expensive either — just putting on a pair of walking shoes, heading out the door with their ear buds cranked up to their favorite song.

Wait! Stop! Let’s go through that scenario again. The walking shoes are a great idea. Opening that front door to enjoy some fresh air and exercise was the next great idea. Cranking up the music to give you a lift in your step? That’s might not be such a great idea and here’s why.

Watch Those Decibels!

Excessive noise, whether pleasant or unpleasant, takes a toll on our hearing. In the end, it’s all about the decibel (dB) level and the length of exposure. A lifetime of hearing a librarian’s whisper at 30 dB is not going to hurt your ears. Nor should conversation, which is normally between 60-68 dB. City traffic as heard from inside a car? That’s usually at 85 dB.

When do these numbers start to get dangerous to your hearing? The level at which sustained noise exposure can result in hearing loss is 90-95 dB and above. This is where drills (approx. 98 dB), lawnmowers (around 107 dB), snowmobiles and motorcycles (usually 100 dB), and finally, the absolute hearing destroyer known as a rock concert (typically 115 dB) begin to cause permanent hearing loss, even for young people.

The loudest sounds that we may ever expose ourselves to, and then only with hearing protection, are in the range above 140 dB, and this includes the blast from a 12-gauge shotgun at a whopping 165 dB, which tops even the roar from a jet engine. It also explains why hearing loss is a major complaint of veterans in the United States.

Protect Your Hearing During Exercise

Life is a noisy place. Loud restaurants, industrial or workplace noises, the everyday sounds from driving around in traffic — these can all build up over a lifetime and cause the hearing loss we unfortunately think of as normal when we age. So what better time to protect your precious hearing than when you’re attempting to do something good for your health by exercising! Here are some recommendations as you tone that body, work out your abs and increase your cardiovascular health:

Try exercising without music. If you are in a peaceful, tranquil place, enjoy the sounds of nature as you get some well-deserved workout time. It’s safer in the long run, because you’ll be more aware of your surroundings. If you must listen to music or to a podcast, keep the volume to a minimum. Just loud enough to understand the words or enjoy the tempo is best. Keep adjusting it down as far as you can — your hearing will be much healthier for it.

In dance class, or even at a restaurant for that matter, don’t be afraid to mention to the management if the music is above your comfort level. The dance instructor may have already ruined his or her hearing, but they shouldn’t ruin yours too.

Wear ear protection. If you can’t find something that’s comfortable, keep looking. If it’s still uncomfortable, try your best to just get used to it. Wear hearing protection in that noisy part of the gym, wear it while engaging in motor sports such as motorcycling, jet skiing, snowmobiling, etc., and don’t forget to get some ear protection while doing yard work such as mowing or edging the grass.

If you suspect some hearing loss has already occurred, please schedule an appointment with the understanding staff at The Hearing Solution here in Campus Commons. We’ll guide you through a hearing assessment and consultation to help you find the best devices to enhance your hearing. Then the next time you take a walk along the gorgeous American River Bike trail, often called the jewel of Sacramento, you’ll hear what might be missing, like birds chirping, the frogs croaking, and beavers slapping their tails.

Interested in learning more? Attend one of our regular hearing solution events to learn more about our unique approach to hearing loss or give us a call at 916-646-2471.

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