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Train To Gain: Listen Up!

Cardio builds fitter hearing.

People who have a high rate of cardiovascular fitness usually have better hearing. That could be due to several factors, including enhanced circulation in the ears, lower blood lipid levels, such as cholesterol and triglycerides, and improved sympathetic nervous system response from exercise. A recent study examined the effects of both aerobic training and resistance exercise on hearing acuity.1

Twenty-four women and 19 men were divided into four groups:

(1) High cardiovascular fitness/ high muscle strength

(2) High cardio/low muscle strength

(3) Low cardio/high muscle strength

(4) Low cardio/low muscle strength

All of the subjects’ hearing and strength levels were tested, as well as body composition and blood lipids. Test results showed that those in group 1 had better hearing than those in group 3. While that would appear to indicate that cardiovascular fitness is more important than muscular strength for maintaining good hearing, the study also showed that muscular strength has an effect on promoting better hearing when combined with good cardiovascular fitness. Muscle strength alone, however, wasn’t associated with increased hearing ability. IM

1 Hutchinson, K.M., et al. (2000). Effects of cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength on hearing sensitivity. J Strength Cond Research. 14:302-309.

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