Do you crank up the volume when you’re exercising? You’re not the only one. Loud music can help amp up the energy, whether you’re working out alone or in an exercise class. But when the volume gets turned up too high, you will increase your risk of hearing loss! When the volume is very loud, even a 30-minute workout session can damage your hearing.
Dangerous Decibels Levels
If you attend a workout class with loud music, go for a run with earbuds, or workout at home with the music pumping, you may be exposing your ears to dangerous decibel levels. Why do we turn up the volume? Our fitness instructors may think the loud music will help you work harder, and you feel more energetic when you can get lost in the music.
In many exercise classes, music is louder than 90 decibels (dB). That’s as loud as a subway train screeching to a halt at the platform. And some workout classes can turn up the volume to over 100 dB! That’s the volume of a lawnmower. Not only is this volume annoyingly loud, but it can also do some real damage.
If you workout with very loud music, you could be hurting your ears. Even spending 15 minutes in a room with the music at 100dB can harm your hearing. Have you ever left a workout class and felt a ringing in your ears, or felt as though the sounds around you were muffled? This is a clear sign the music was far too loud, and you’re hurting your ears. These symptoms can be temporary, but over time, this exposure to loud noise will cause permanent damage and hearing loss.
Turn Down the Volume
Turning down the volume doesn’t make your workout less intense. You can still use music to increase your energy and enthusiasm. But you can get this extra motivation without the dangerous decibel levels. In fact, Ronna Hertzano, MD, PhD, at the University of Maryland School of Medicine found that there isn’t a connection between how hard you work out, and how loud your music is. Lower volume doesn’t change your workout, and you’ll still break a sweat if the volume is at a safe level.
“Our findings make a strong case for reducing music volumes in fitness classes to protect against hearing loss without sacrificing the intensity of the workout,” says Hertzano. “In fact, our study participants reported that they preferred the reduced sound level during their workouts.”
Why Turn Down the Volume?
Do your ears hurt during your workout? Turn down the volume immediately! If you attend an exercise class with dangerously loud noise, ask your instructor to turn down the volume, or enroll in a class that plays the music at a safe level.
You might be worried you’re the only one that’s annoyed with the volume. But Hertzano found that about 1 in 3 people in classes with loud music said the volume was too loud, and they’d prefer if the music wasn’t as loud. So don’t be afraid to speak up, and let your exercise instructor know the volume is just too high.
If you workout at home or in nature, turn down the volume on your workout playlist. This research suggests you’ll probably enjoy your workout more.
Hearing Protection During Workouts
If you’re working out in a class with dangerously loud music, the only way to protect your hearing is with earplugs. Whether you wear earplugs or get custom digital hearing protection, reducing the decibel levels is the only way you can keep your hearing safe.
However, rather than investing in hearing protection, turn down the dial on the volume, and make sure the exercise classes are safe for everyone.
Protect Your Hearing
Do you have hearing loss? If you’re a fitness instructor and you’ve noticed hearing loss from your noisy job, it’s time to schedule a hearing test. And if you’re an avid gym member and you’ve been working out with loud music for years, we also recommend getting a hearing test.
Exposure to loud noise is one of the leading causes of hearing loss, and it’s completely preventable! Turn down the volume on your workout music, and contact us to find out more about your hearing health!