When you think of ear health, things like proper cleaning techniques, avoiding infections and getting regular checkups with a hearing health care professional probably come to mind. Although these are important practices, there are other aspects of maintaining good hearing and healthy ears. You might be surprised to learn that exercise, stress and rest all play a role in your chances of developing hearing loss and other hearing conditions.

Exercise and ear health

We all know cardiovascular activities like walking, running, cycling and swimming are good for our heart, lungs and weight management. They’re also good for our ears! Exercise gets fresh blood pumping through the body; boosting the cellular processes in our hearing organs and helping them function at their maximum capacity. If you find it hard to exercise, don’t worry – medical experts say it only takes 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity a day to reap the overall health benefits, and that includes ear health.

Stress and ear health

As you might imagine, stress plays an opposite role in ear health than exercise. Excess stress and anxiety places pressure on our heart, nerves and body processes, triggering “fight or flight” hormones that produce many unhealthy side effects. According to research, tinnitus – phantom ringing or buzzing in the ears that often has no discernable cause – is strongly linked to stress. For this reason, keeping your schedule, environment and emotions from succumbing to constant stress is important not only for overall health, but healthy ears.

Rest and ear health

Just like the rest of our bodies, our ears need an occasional time out from stimulating input. The louder and longer the duration of sound exposure, the longer the ears need to rest. Walking away for five-minute breaks during concerts, live sporting events, or evenings at noisy restaurants will help; but, following these activities, ears need a complete noise break. It takes an average of 16 hours of sound rest for your ears to fully recover. Taking a sound break also doubles as stress management – so be sure to schedule it in.

Taking good care of your ears includes taking good care of your body, too. Exercise, manage stress, take some time to enjoy the silence and your hearing health will benefit.

If you’re worried about the health of your ears, locate a hearing professional in your area and schedule an appointment to discuss your concerns right away.