Exercise is good for the mind, body and spirit. Regular physical activity has been proven to improve memory and mental function, help weight control and reduce risk of certain chronic illnesses. These benefits of physical fitness probably aren’t news to you, but this might be: there may also be a link between exercise and improved auditory function. A group of medical researchers at the University of Florida have conducted a new study to analyze this relationship. Their findings show that engaging in regular physical activity can help 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 effect 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 applicable to humans. The National Institute of Health is undertaking a research initiative to explore which molecules released during exercise may help maintain auditory health.
To learn more about how to maintain your auditory ability, we encourage you to speak with a hearing health professional. Additionally, annual hearing tests are recommended for all individuals over 50 to monitor their auditory health and prevent the development of hearing-related complications. To find schedule a consultation with an audiologist in Tucson, AZ contact our team at (520) 399-7630.