Why Exercising Too Much Can Be Dangerous: Hearing Loss


We’ve all become used to the traditional narrative that there can be no such thing as too much exercise. But that’s not necessarily the case. Indeed, exercising too much or in the wrong way can actually be detrimental to your health, with some dangerous side effects that you might not expect.

Perhaps the most significant among these side effects that most people are seemingly unaware of is hearing loss. This is a disability that continues to be a significant drain on the economy but is often entirely preventable.

Of course, if you’re worried about hearing loss you should immediately book a hearing test or at least try an online hearing test first. But as long as you’re aware of the factors that can lead to hearing loss then you should be able to exercise safely and efficiently.

The link between exercise and music

We all probably have our favourite workout playlists and it’s unlikely that the songs contained within will be soft piano ballads. Many workout sessions are accompanied by punishingly loud music and there’s a good reason for this – music gets us pumped up. It gets the blood flowing and it gives us an emotional connection to our workout.

However, any volume above 90db is considered dangerously loud when you’re exposed to it for long periods. This is why so many aerobics instructors experience tinnitus. A good rule of thumb is to ensure you’re not exposing yourself to music above 90db for more than an hour at a time, if possible.

The link between weight lifting and hearing loss

Any heavy exertion can cause intracranial pressure and this will ultimately cause a build-up of pressure in your ears. There are few examples of heavy exertion more obvious than lifting weights. Indeed, the pressure in your ears when lifting (particularly when holding your breath) can be compared to the pressure you feel in your ears on an aeroplane.

The best way to prevent this build-up is to clear your ears by yawning or holding your nose and forcing the air out of your ears. Taking some kind of decongestant beforehand is also a good idea as well as remembering not to hold your breath while lifting. Note too that the sound of weights dropping can be incredibly loud, so always ensure you drop weights onto padded flooring.

The ringing in your ears

While weight lifting is perhaps the most obvious cause of ear pressure buildup, any intensive exercise can cause pressure that tears the membrane in your ear, leading to ringing and dizziness that can be incredibly unpleasant.

The best way to combat this? Don’t push yourself so hard! Take breaks every once in a while and remember that fitness is a marathon, not a sprint!


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