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Hearing Loss from Bodybuilding?

Q

"Hello! Have you ever heard of anyone developing hearing loss from bodybuilding / weight lifting?

- Jake H."

A

No, I can't say that I have.

However with the wide plethora of supplements and steroids available to the bodybuilding industry I would not be surprised if some of the more illegal steroids have side effects that include hearing loss.

There are a lot of unknowns when it comes to drugs that have not been properly tested and have been deemed to have dangerous side effects.

However the hearing loss could just be caused by something else and falsely attributed to weightlifting.

For example the older people get the more likely they are to experience hearing loss. 33% of elderly people between the ages of 65 and 75 experience some form of hearing loss. Above the age of 75 the percentage goes up to 50%. Thus if a person at the age of 68 took up weightlifting later in life, and became really serious about it, and then started experiencing hearing loss at the same time, they might falsely think their hearing loss was somehow connected to the new love of weightlifting.

To my knowledge there is no medical connection between weightlifting and hearing loss - but that doesn't mean a person can't develop hearing loss due to another cause. It would therefore be logical to start by eliminating other possible causes before we start pointing fingers.

THE MOST COMMON CAUSES OF HEARING LOSS

#1. Genetic factors - Is there a history of hearing loss in your family? This is entirely possible when you consider 50% of people encounter hearing loss over the age of 75. Even people who have no history of hearing loss in their parents or grandparents may still have inherited a recessive gene.

#2. Excessive Exposure to Loud Noises over a Longer Period - What kind of work or home environment do you have that might expose you to loud noises? eg. If you work in a noisy factory and have been doing so for years, and you don't wear ear protection, you could suffer hearing loss.

#3. Buildup of Earwax / Medical Conditions - Some people build up earwax faster than others and it interferes with their hearing over time.

#4. High Intensity Sound - A single loud burst of sound can also cause hearing damage if its exceptionally loud.

#5. Tumor, Abnormal Bone Growth, Ear Infection - Some of these could be permanent or temporary. Depends on the precise cause. An audiologist could provide more info.

#6. Ruptured Eardrum due to Unknown Cause - Sometimes accidents just happen and we have no idea why.

#7. People who are into boxing and wrestling can sometimes suffer hearing loss. Many boxers and wrestlers also encounter other problems like blindness, mental impairments, speech difficulties, respiratory problems, and paralysis. A hard knock to the head can damage the bones inside the ear and cause some extent of hearing loss. Boxing can cause all sorts of damage to your ears.

Symptoms of hearing loss are pretty easy to spot. The muffled quality of sounds, listening to things at a higher volume that others complain, asking people to repeat themselves louder.

NOTE: If you experience complete hearing loss in one or more ears, or constant dizziness, then you should contact a doctor immediately.

Treatment really depends on the cause and severity. If its just earwax, then you can just remove the earwax - possibly by visiting a doctor and getting a medical wax removal procedure. The use of hearing aids is more for people who have severe damage.

And then there is Cochlear Implants - which is a whole other subject. CIs is a surgically implanted electronic device also referred to as bionic ears that provides a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing. Even people who are born deaf can sometimes be given a sense of sound thanks to these implants. They are not cheap however - costing anywhere from $45,000 to $125,000. A cochlear implant will not cure deafness, but is a prosthetic substitute for hearing.

If you really think you might be suffering hearing loss (regardless of whether you think it is caused by weightlifting or some other cause) then I recommend speaking to an audiologist. I know of an audiologist in Vaughan who works for Omni Hearing, who offers free hearing tests. So at least it won't cost you anything to have your hearing tested in the event you feel you are suffering hearing loss.

But with respect bodybuilding and hearing loss? I would say that is a myth until proven with some kind of scientific study.


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