February 27, 2012

Exercise makes you hear better


When you go for your morning jog, you are striding toward firm legs, a thinner middle and a strong heart. Little did you know, you were also getting your ears into shape.

In a study at Miami University in Ohio, subjects who participated in 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercises two or three times a week found that their hearing actually improved. After two months of regular exercise, some of them doubled their ability to detect very faint sounds. A previous study at the university had demonstrated that fitness may protect you from hearing loss –  participants who were the most fit suffered less temporary hearing loss when exposed to loud noises than most sedentary people – but this is the first real evidence that it might also improve hearing. Another Netherlands-based study on a 55 plus age-group of people has found out that aerobic exercises tend to boost cognitive processing speed, memory functions and auditory and visual attention in healthy older people.



aged couple jogging

Though no one is sure just how fitness helps hearing, Helaine Alessio, associate professor of exercise physiology at Miami, suggests it may be due to the increased quality and quantity of blood flowing through the small organs of the inner ear. Maaike Angevaren, the lead author of Netherlands-based study hints that physical activity increases blood flow to the brain thereby improving cognitive function, one of which is auditory attention and our ability to process the sound we hear.

This benefit, however, has an absolute limit: The damaging effects of such things as frequent exposure to very loud noise will eventually cause hearing loss, even in highly fit individuals. So keep the music volume at a reasonable level when you’re working out and try to avoid places with extremely high noise levels if you are exercising outdoors or such streets and lanes if you are into walking and jogging.

(Guest Post by Dhanya)



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