A new year brings along with it plenty of resolutions that people make and it’s not uncommon to be inclined towards giving more time to exercise and your health. However, if you’re vacillating between shedding some sweat and the comfort of your blanket, here’s another reason that will get you out of your bed and hit the gym: regular exercise prevents hearing loss! Yes, you read it right.
If you are unable to make that connection, fret not. It has been proved by an interesting study done on mice that regular physical activity is related to better hearing health. In this experiment, structures like strial capillaries and hair-like cells, which are analogous to those found in hearing apparatus of humans, were evaluated for degradation due to aging and noise over a period of time. The researchers trained one group of mice to exercise while the control group led a sedentary life. While the active group lost about five percent of their hearing ability, the latter suffered a significant twenty percent reduction.
This stark difference, which was even beyond the expected results, was ascribed to improvement in blood circulation that’s brought about by exercising. One may stop breathing for a minute but hearing is a non-stop process. The delicate cells of our cochlear organ work untiringly throughout the day to process sound signals and transmit them to our auditory nerves that carry these electrical signals to the brain. And for this energy-demanding hearing structures to perform their task efficiently, they require copious amounts of oxygen. Fortunately, exercise improves blood circulation and ensures a constant supply of oxygenated blood the oxygen-hungry cochlea via the strial capillaries.
In fact, another interesting fact was discovered through this study. Researchers found the levels of inflammation markers to be twice as much in the control group than their active counterparts, indicating a major role of inflammation in speeding up the process of hearing impairment. This also meant that apart from increasing the blood supply to the strial capillaries, exercise also provided protection to these critical-for-hearing structures from both systemic and local inflammation.
Considering the fact that around 70 percent seventy-year-olds suffer from age-related hearing problems, a deeper understanding of preventive and protective measures can help you more than you think. In fact, this study has led to further research to understand how exercise-induced release of growth factors affects the density of capillaries, their health, and the mechanism behind providing protection to them from inflammation.
While the study brought to light certain unknown and unexpected results, the connection between hearing health and exercise is not unknown to researchers and healthcare professionals alike. And maybe, for this reason, even your doctor may have advised you to maintain a lifestyle that includes regular exercising. In fact, most of you might not know but several studies that support the aforementioned logic find their basis in the relationship that has been found between the hearing health and the health of our heart.
Yes, a healthy heart means better hearing health and efficient hearing implies proper functioning of our hearts. In fact, thanks to the extensive research on this topic, now doctors can even assess one’s hearing to determine the cardiovascular heath. Conversely, poor heart health may be a predisposing factor for hearing loss. This, again, is attributed to the efficient supply of oxygen to the ever-toiling cochlear cells. A good working condition of our heart ensures better circulation and adequate provision of oxygen, aiding in the proper functioning of our hearing apparatus. So, based on these researches, if you’re fifty but fit, you can have a hearing capacity equivalent to that of a thirty-year-old. And the good news is that researchers suggest that one may not need to resort to drastic measures to achieve better hearing health. Even moderate changes in the activity levels of people who otherwise lead sedentary lives can bring about good improvement. Light activities like a thirty-minute walk or cycling can bring about the desired changes in the level of blood circulation and heart rate that’s necessary for protecting the hearing health.
With these added benefits, hopefully, you will now see the need for exercising in a new light. After all, the tiny hardworking hair cells, who toil 24×7 to ensure we hear better, deserve the thirty minutes of exercise. So, stop procrastinating and don your exercise clothes, it’s time to get some blood pumping!