Lifestyle

The Positive Effects of Yoga on Hearing Loss

Yoga has been shown to help people with tinnitus and hearing loss. Science shows that you can improve your hearing loss by doing yoga. 

What is Yoga?

Yoga is an ancient practice that incorporates gentle exercise, breath control, and meditation. Historically, yoga helps those who practice it - be they a newcomer or a long time practitioner. Whether you're a beginner just starting to practice holding poses and asanas, or an experienced meditator seeking deeper insights through kundalini, yoga is well worth the challenge! 

Yoga has withstood the test of time for over 5,000 years. It was designed as a path to spiritual enlightenment, but in modern times, the physical aspect of the practice is used as a form of exercise and stress management. 

Yoga’s Positive Effects on Individuals with Hearing Loss

  1. Increases Blood Flow to the Ears
  2. Helps Relax Muscle Tissue
  3. Releases feel-good hormones

 

1. Increased Blood Flow to the Ears

A steady stream of blood flow to the hair cells in the inner ear is required in order for the hair cells to receive sufficient oxygen and other nutrients. When stress is present, the overproduction of adrenaline reduces blood flow to the ears, which affects hearing. When blood flow is reduced or cut off, the ear cells can become damaged. Many people who suffer from these ENT-related issues have experienced symptoms such as having a tight neck or jaw.

2. Relaxed Muscle Tissue

With practice, yoga can lead to complete relaxation of the neck muscles which helps free up blood flow to the ear region, ultimately helping to prevent hearing loss and tinnitus, while improving nerve function in the ear region. Neck muscle exercises, spine extensions, and deep breathing exercises were found to positively increase the blood and oxygen supply to the inner ear.

3. Feel-good Hormones

Yoga does more than just help your blood flow and muscles relax. Yoga has also been shown to help individuals which are low in GABA - ‘gamma-aminobutyric acid’ for short. It is a brain neurotransmitter Across clinical trials, individuals that had less GABA were at higher risk for tinnitus, anxiety, stress, and depression. One study reported that GABA increases in the brain by 27% after just one 60-minute yoga session. Interestingly, individuals who did yoga received more GABA than individuals who were speed-walking.  

Practicing Yoga Can Lead to Better Blood flow, Speech, Hearing, & Balance

Your red blood cells carry precious oxygen, needed to run the cognitive engine that is your brain. What’s more, yoga has been shown to help individuals that are hard of speech and hearing impaired by increasing the blood flow throughout the body.

Balance

Low impact exercises such as tai chi- which share a similar historical root with yoga, have been shown to aid individuals in fall prevention. The mechanism that regulates fall prevention is located in the ear. A California State University study found that individuals who performed light tai chi exercises had a better fall outcome than individuals in the control group.

How to Approach Yoga

Yoga is as much an exploration into the mind as it is an exercise of the body. Your brain is never too old to train - and your body never “too old to teach old dog new tricks.”

The science of neuroplasticity has shown that some progressive diseases can actually be reversed, however, note that any form of exercise should be followed by physicians’ advice - or at the very least, your stubborn will to carry on and live life on your own terms! Done the right way, yoga leaves you grounded, energized, and relaxed.

Effects of Stress on the Body

A stressed body is a tight body; a body that is on high alert. When the body feels that it is under attack, you clench your musculature in preparation for a battle - and the fight or flight response kicks in! Fists clench, teeth grind, and jaws clench. Cortisol and adrenaline spike and your nervous system works overtime. This tires you out in the long-run. 

In our busy, 24/7 connected world, the stress response is working overtime. And you don’t have to be chased by an apex predator like a saber tooth tiger. The stress response is activated whenever work, life, and relationship stressors get too high - which they inevitably do.

Yoga’s 10 Positive Effects on the Body

Studies show that yoga is a boon; it helps and heals just about every part of the body and mind.
 
Yoga has been scientifically proven to help:
 
1. Respiration
2. Energy and vitality
3. Weight reduction and management
4. Focus, attention, and concentration
5. Release of feel-good hormones (like GABA and dopamine)
6. Improved posture
7. Pregnant women have smoother delivery
8. Reaction time and respiratory endurance
9. Increasing blood flow to the ear region
10. Tinnitus
 
*Clicking on any of these will direct you to the scientific journal for each topic.

Ways to Practice Yoga

  1. Download a yoga app
  2. Attend a yoga class with a friend
  3. Type in “full yoga class” into YouTube and follow along virtually

 

See if you qualify for a complimentary hearing screening at your local clinic.

SayWhat Hearing believes education is key - especially for individuals who have a genetic predisposition to hearing loss. If hearing loss runs in the family, chances could be high that you have it too. 

The only way to know is to go in for a periodic check-up. Audiologists can screen you, a loved one, or your child's hearing. Unfortunately, for some individuals their hearing loss may be so profound and severe that yoga and other exercises may not have such an impact; so check with your physician, audiologist, or ENT first.

We believe in creating awareness about going in for periodic check-ups. Progressively anticipating and proactively catching hearing loss is critical to the well-being of the world’s population. In addition, education is key, especially for individuals who have a history of hearing loss in their family or who work in a noisy work environment. (Watch out if you are working at one of these top 20 jobs where you are most likely to lose your hearing.)

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