Ringing in the Ears After Exercise

When you step off of the elliptical or you've finished a round of weight lifting, you may notice that you experience a ringing or high pitched sound in your ear. While you might be concerned, it's a common occurrence and may be related to the condition known as tinnitus, which causes you to hear ringing after certain activities. The ringing is usually harmless, except when it is the symptom of a more serious cause. Know when to take a break and when to be worried when you hear the ringing after your workout.

Close-up of girl covering her ears. (Image: Jonathan Daniels/iStock/Getty Images)


When you hear ringing in your ears after exercise, you may notice a few other symptoms. You may also feel dizzy and nauseous. The ringing can sound different to different people, with some explaining the sound as a high-pitched squeal and others describing a pulsing, hissing or roaring sign. You may notice that the ringing is worse when you participate in especially strenuous workouts or push your body harder than usual.


The most typical form of tinnitus after exercise is caused by the increased blood flow in your body. When you exercise, your heart pumps more blood to help support your muscles with oxygen. This can result in extra blood pumped to areas that may not need it, like your ears. Ringing in the ears can also be the result of ear infections and colds, which could increase as you put pressure on your ears through increased blood flow during exercise. You might also experience tinnitus from keeping your workout music too loud in your ear.


By keeping your workout music to a quieter volume level than normal, you can reduce sound-caused tinnitus. Turn your music down to 50 percent of your music player's full capacity in order to preserve your hearing and prevent the ringing in your ears after exercise. Take time to cool down after your workout, so you aren't going from a period of high intensity exercise to immediate rest. The gradual slowing of your heart rate could help prevent temporary tinnitus. Manage both your stress level and alcohol intake, which can contribute to the severity of the tinnitus.


When lifestyle remedies and prevention methods don't work to stop the ringing in your ears after exercise, it's a good time to make an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor can examine your ear to look for problems like ear wax blockages or an ear infection. Once she's ruled out easily remedied causes of the ringing, she may prescribe tools like white noise, a quieter headset or even a hearing aid, if necessary. While some antidepressant medications can help reduce tinnitus, they usually aren't prescribed for simple, exercise-induced cases.

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