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What exercising cannot do? Scientists found exercising prevents age-related hearing loss

Posted November 6, 2016

There is no denying that exercising is extremely good for our body and mind. However, some effects of it are still surprising. For example, would you think that physical activity helps protecting your hearing? A new study from University of Florida has found that regular exercising can help preventing age-related hearing loss.

Regular exercising may help preventing age-related hearing loss. Image credit: Jonas Bergsten via Wikimedia, Public Domain

Regular exercising may help preventing age-related hearing loss. Image credit: Jonas Bergsten via Wikimedia, Public Domain

Scientists conducted experiments with mouse models. They did not let one mouse to exercise, while another one was free to do any physical activity it wants. Of course, as they aged, hearing declined, but the mouse, which was exercising, experienced a 5 % decline, while the other one lost 20 % of hearing. This is very important, because around 70 % of people aged above 70 years, experience decline in hearing ability, because of hair cells, strial capillaries and spiral ganglion in the cochlear system of their ear get damaged. And it is not even surprising, because our ears are always working, even when we are sleeping, so they technically get too tired eventually.

It can be prevented, if the system is sufficiently fed with oxygen. Scientists think that age-related hearing loss is caused by inflammation damage of the capillaries and cells and exercise can provide some protection against it. Those mice that exercised were much less affected by age-related inflammation, which further confirms this idea. Interestingly, there have been studies before that acknowledged benefits of exercising to hearing sensitivity, but this is the first one to show that it can also prevent age-related hearing loss.

Although there is still no evidence, researchers believe that these results would translate to humans as well. Christiaan Leeuwenburgh, co-author of the paper, said: “Exercise likely releases some growth factors yet to be discovered that maintain capillary density as compared to the control animals who were not exercising. Also, exercise may release other beneficial factors, but can also attenuate and blunt negative factors, such as inflammation”. One may think that older people cannot really exercise, but the truth is that aging mice also exercised less and still saw benefits of it.

Scientists will continue this research, in order to find out what other benefits against aging does exercising bring. Preserving biological functions is not only beneficial for health reasons, but also significantly improves quality of life in later years.


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