Exercise is a great way to keep your body healthy. Weight training helps keep your muscles strong and healthy and cardio workouts are great for keeping your heart pumping strong. What many people don’t know is that exercising, especially having a good cardio regime, is good for your hearing.
Research has shown that cardiovascular fitness contributes to better neural integrity in the cochlea, which is the auditory portion of the inner ear. A good cardio workout will get your heart pumping which will transport oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. There is also decreased likelihood of the physically fit, heart-healthy to suffer auditory damage from noise pollution, certain medications, and disease. It can be assumed one who is fit is often healthier overall.
Improved blood flow to the brain also aids in hearing. Allowing for “fast thinking,” a brain on exercise can better sort and identify the sounds we hear. It is not simply the ability to hear better but to better process what is heard. Sound vibrations travel to the auditory portion of the brain where they are identified, along with their sources and meaning. Quick processing translates to quicker reaction time, which can have a huge impact on everything from driving a car to playing a game with grandkids.
Studies confirm improved aerobic fitness boosts cognitive processing speed, motor function, and visual and auditory attention in healthy older adults. Much of what we “hear” happens when our brains translate sound waves into meaning. This is called auditory processing. Exercise keeps this process working efficiently.
If you do not exercise at all, you run the risk of not only having health issues, but you risk your hearing to have issues. The ears themselves may be fine and show no physical damage, but a brain that lacks healthy fuel can improperly recognize incoming sounds and find it difficult to interpret them. A brain that constantly receives blood, loaded with cholesterol, sugar, is at a disadvantage in multiple areas, including hearing sensitivity. So next time you are thinking about skipping your cardio day, remember, it helps your heart and your ears!