There are many benefits to cardiovascular exercise, such as lower blood pressure, reduced asthma symptoms, reduced chronic pain, better sleep, better weight regulation, a stronger immune system, improved mood and better cognitive performance. But there’s another benefit that may surprise you: Regular cardiovascular exercise can also help preserve your hearing.
How Much Cardio Do You Need?
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week for all adults, even the elderly and disabled. You can break this down in many different ways, but for most, it is best to exercise for 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
What’s important to note is that any amount of cardiovascular exercise is going to benefit your health. If 150 minutes of exercise a week seems impossible, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try; it means you should work to set realistic, achievable goals for yourself and work your way up to the recommended amount.
What Is the Relationship Between Cardio and Hearing?
Within the inner ears are tiny hair cells called stereocilia. These cells convert soundwaves into electrical energy that the brain interprets as sound. Stereocilia require healthy blood flow to the ears to survive.
Cardiovascular disease often means these cells do not receive enough oxygen from the blood, which can damage or destroy the cells. Once dead, they do not regenerate, and permanent sensorineural hearing loss is the result.
What Research Supports This?
Multiple studies have confirmed the link between hearing loss and poor cardiovascular health.
One study by Miami University followed 1,000 patients ages 8 to 88 for ten years. They concluded that:
- Hearing loss correlates with age, but tends not to be noticeable until after age 50.
- Low cardiovascular fitness at any age is associated with poorer hearing sensitivity compared to those with mid- to high-level cardiovascular fitness.
- People over 50 with mid to high cardiovascular fitness have roughly the same hearing sensitivity compared to those in their 30s.
- Hearing loss and cardiovascular fitness are linked by the common mechanism of blood circulation.
A second study by the University of Florida researched the effects of long-term exercise on age-related hearing loss in mice. They found that 24-month old mice who ran on a wheel had less cochlear hair cell and spiral ganglion neuron loss, as well as better auditory brainstem response thresholds when compared to non-runners of the same age. This suggests that long-term exercise delays the progression of age-related hearing loss.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Total Hearing Care of Dallas today.