The benefits of exercise are widespread and well-documented. Regular physical fitness can positively impact your mental, emotional and physical well-being. Commonly referenced benefits of exercise include improved mood, reduced risk of chronic illness and a longer life. Recently, a new addition to the long list of exercise-related benefits has been discovered at the University of Florida, where a team of researchers have shown exercise to prevent the development of age-related hearing loss in mice
Of the most common hearing loss causes is the age-related deterioration of the auditory system. This form of hearing loss occurs gradually over many years as the result of damage to delicate hair cells and other parts in the auditory system. This condition affects approximately 70 percent of individuals over 69 years of age, making it one of the most common conditions impacting seniors.
In order to maintain a healthy auditory system, it needs to be well oxygenated. The effects of oxygen on our hearing is one of the aspects studied by the researchers at University of Florida. Using two groups of mice, one with access to an exercise wheel and one without, the research team examined the impacts of a sedentary lifestyle on the rodents.
Their study suggests that age-related inflammation results in damage to the the cells of the auditory system, a factor the active group were able to reduce by about 50 percent. The active group also had a much lower rate of auditory damage and, while the sedentary mice experienced hearing loss at a rate of about 20 percent, only 5 percent of the active group had an impairment.
The scientific community is hopeful that this study may also be relevant for hearing impaired humans. The National Institutes of Health is undertaking a research initiative to explore which molecules released during exercise may help maintain auditory health.
Currently, the best known method for maintaining auditory health is to use hearing protection and receive regular hearing tests. Taking these precautions can help prevent the development of a more serious condition caused by hearing loss, which may include depression, anxiety and cognitive decline. To find out more about maintaining your hearing, speak with a doctor of audiology. To find a provider of audiology in San Diego, contact our team at (858) 279-3277.