Noisy group exercises could damage your hearing

HOUSTON – Think about those group classes where the music is pumping and the instructor is yelling into a microphone. In the time it takes to warm up 10-15 minutes, you could be damaging your hearing.

Your ears are taking in a lot of noise while working out and it can add up. For every 15 minutes you spend in a noisy environment, Michelle Udayamurthy, MD from Kelsey-Seybold Clinic said your ears are taking a hit.

“If you hear ringing after your workout classes or your ears are muffled, that's a sign you might have had hearing damage during that class,” she said.

Eighty decibels is the volume of a vacuum or loud movie. One hundred plus decibels is like being at a rock concert, which is damaging to your hearing. In the confined space of a gym, Udayamurthy said the volume can be in that danger zone of 100+ decibels.

So what can you do?

Udayamurthy said you can ask the gym to turn the music down.

“The biggest thing is wearing earbuds during workout classes, especially ones that are high volume,” she said.

She means the soft, plastic earbuds used to muffle noise. Earbuds worn for music during workouts, like the ones that sit inside your ear, can also be harmful since people tend to turn those up in an attempt to cancel outside noise.

However, if you’re exercising outdoors, Udayamurthy said it’s safer to use earbuds than wear noise-canceling headphones where you might not be able to hear traffic and people around you.