Many people in Plano finish the holidays with a new year’s resolution or two. You might want to drop a few pounds by vowing to eat more veggies and enroll in a fitness class. In spite of your good intentions, joining a gym can have unintended negative consequences. Certain exercises might actually be harmful to your hearing.
Fitness Classes Can Be Noisy
One of the most popular fitness classes in Plano, and throughout Texas, is spinning. The benefits of indoor cycling are clear; you’ll get an intense cardio workout that burns up to 600 calories an hour, enough to burn off all the cookies and eggnog you consumed over the holidays. The problem with this group activity lies in the loud music that most instructors play during class. It may be a great way to motivate you to pedal harder, but it’s not doing your ears any favors.
How loud to hearing damage
Anything louder than 85 decibels (dB) causes damage the tiny hair cells in the inner ear, causing irreversible hearing loss. The louder the sound, the quicker damage occurs; for every 3-dB increase in volume above 85, your safe exposure time is cut in half. Volume levels in a typical spin class hover around 113 dB, enough to cause hearing damage in only 15 minutes. With the average spin class lasting 40-60 minutes, it’s obvious that pedaling your way to good health might not be worth the tradeoff.
Hearing hazards are avoidable
Hearing hazards in the gym aren’t confined to spinning. Any fitness class that incorporates loud music, such as aerobics, poses similar risks. Clanking weights, motorized treadmills, rowing machines and Stairmasters all add to the overall noisy atmosphere in any fitness center. If it’s big enough and crowded – as it inevitably will be these first few weeks of the new year while resolutions are still fresh in everybody’s minds and complacency hasn’t set in yet – you could be hurting your hearing, too.
Burning Calories Safely
Just because noisy gyms can potentially damage your hearing doesn’t give you an excuse to avoid exercise. There are too many positive health benefits to justify skipping workouts! You just have to learn how to do so safely.
If you’re taking a spinning or aerobics class and the music is too loud, ask your instructor to turn it down. Be prepared to be overruled by tossing a pair of earplugs into your gym bag. Custom silicone plugs made from impressions of your ear canals work best, but even an inexpensive pair of foam plugs from the drugstore will provide you with protection from harmful noise. If you’re not into group workouts, try going to the gym when it’s least crowded; fewer people means less noise.
For more tips on workouts that won’t damage your hearing, give your Plano audiologist a call.