If you or someone you know suffer from tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, you know how bothersome it can be. You may have difficulty concentrating, sleeping, feel depressed, stressed out or anxious. While regular exercise can decrease the symptoms of tinnitus, there are certain exercises to avoid.
Tinnitus sufferers report hearing sounds when no external sounds exist. The annoying symptoms of tinnitus include ringing, whistling, buzzing, clicking, hissing and roaring in one or both ears. The noises may vary in volume and may come and go. You may find that it is difficult to lead a normal life with tinnitus. Your job, social life, and personal life may suffer. Tinnitus may lead to isolation, as you may feel like no one understands what you are going through.
Tinnitus is a symptom of an underlying condition, not an independent condition. Tinnitus has a variety of causes, including exposure to loud noise, age-related hearing loss, head and neck injuries, blood vessel disorders, earwax impactions and stress and depression, to name a few. Regardless of the cause, tinnitus sufferers are plagued by the question, "Will this ever go away?"
Exercises to Avoid
You might be surprised to learn that certain exercises can cause or worsen tinnitus. Through a research study, Dr. Michael I. Weintraub of the New York Medical College discovered that there may be an association between high-impact aerobics and hearing dysfunctions. The jarring of the head that occurs in high-impact aerobics causes the otoconia, calcium crystals in our ears, to be jarred out of their normal places, causing inner ear problems. If you have tinnitus, you should avoid any exercises that involve jarring movements and a lot of jumping. High-impact aerobics, running, basketball, football, soccer and volleyball should be done in moderation, if at all.
Regular exercise may be effective in reducing the symptoms of tinnitus. Exercise improves circulation, detoxifies the body, nourishes the auditory system, decreases stress and improves the quality of sleep. Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins, or "feel-good" hormones, which will give you a sense of overall wellness. Low-impact aerobics may be an alternative to high-impact aerobics. Gentle exercise, like yoga and Pilates, may be effective in reducing stress and anxiety in tinnitus sufferers. When you exercise, wear high-quality shoes designed to absorb shock.
If you have tinnitus, you should not have to deal with it all on your own. Talking with a professional counselor or participating in a support group may help you deal with the stress associated with the tinnitus. Perhaps together, you can brainstorm and experiment with different treatment options, exercise being one of them. While your tinnitus may never go away completely, symptoms of tinnitus can be reduced and managed.
Is This an Emergency?
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Tinnitus
- New England Journal of Medicine: High-Impact Aerobic Exercise and Vertigo--A Possible Cause of Bilateral Vestibulopathy
- Hearing Loss Help: The Danger to Your Ears of High-Impact Aerobics
- Arches: How to Get a Good Night's Sleep: Getting Past the Tinnitus and into Dreamland