Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Can excessive exercise cause hearing loss?

I like to run, and after many years I have my own pace. But like most of the runners I know that running is not enough for my fitness routine. Besides running I also need intense workouts at the gym such as lifting, Pilates and yoga.

All is great till my ear refuses to cooperate. So, hearing loss can be caused by strenuous exercise. And here are a few causes:

- Performing vigorous breathing exercises wrongly during yoga can result in the symptoms of vertigo and cause sudden hearing loss. Alternate nostril breathing is an ancient practice of yoga that involves inhaling life energy and exhaling negative energy. Done incorrectly, the middle part of the ear may be affected by a buildup of pressure. Swallowing during this time can make the problem worse and the resulting hearing loss may be permanent. Be careful!

- Large vestibular aqueduct syndrome is a condition caused by intracranial pressure and can be exacerbated by strenuous exercise. The contents of the endolymphatic sac, which is located between the brain and skull, flows backward to the cochlea during the exercise, where the extra-high ionic content of the endolymph in the sac causes problems in the inner ear, leading to hearing loss. This condition can be diagnosed by a medical professional through an MRI or CAT scan.

- Exercising, when combined with noise, can result in hearing loss. Listening to music using headphones can make the inner ear more prone to damage, and loud music during fitness classes and at gyms also can have an impact on your hearing. Symptoms associated with sudden hearing loss include dizziness and ear fullness and is preceded by ringing in the ears, known as tinnitus.

Excessive exercise increases blood supply to all parts of the body => venous engorgement of the e-tube => malfunction. My eustachian tube clogs,  ear feels full / stuffy, and my hearing feels a bit muffled. Sometimes I can even hear my own voice and that's because the e-tubes lock in the "open" position - they are normally closed and only open briefly when we swallow, sneeze etc.

This exercise-induced eustachian tube dysfunction resolves after I cool down, however is still bothersome and during the time I've learned the limits of my workouts.


Corina Marinescu

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