In thinking about New Years, I am reminded of my resolution from 2020. It originated from a Reddit thread where people were complaining about the music being too loud at Orange Theory Fitness. At the time, I thought it was absolutely ridiculous—I mean, who wants to sprint to quiet music? But my perspective completely changed as I read through the comments. It turns out that music levels at gyms are usually way above the recommended threshold of 85 decibels. And that we may be more susceptible to hearing loss when exercising due to increased blood flow. Yikes!
Preventing Hearing Loss While Exercising
I immediately committed to wearing earplugs at Orange Theory when the New Year started. I had to mentally prepare (and psych myself up) as I wasn’t sure if I’d lose any motivation or ‘workout edge’ from not being able to fully enjoy the music. And it would be awkward if I couldn’t hear the coach’s cues or people trying to talk to me. Would I look strange to others in the class, or to myself in the mirror? Plus, I had no idea if the earplugs would be uncomfortable, get sweaty, or stay in place while being so active.
I purchased a pair of Eargasm High Fidelity earplugs that were recommended on the Reddit thread. They seemed to be inconspicuous and effective at blocking out dangerous noise levels. On January 1st, I gave them a try . . . and thankfully, they worked perfectly! The first time or two took a little getting used to, but after a few classes, I honestly would forget I had them in. They were clear (barely noticeable), effective (drowned out the loud music but not the instructions), and comfortable (flexible, non-obtrusive). They also came with a keychain attachment, perfect for those times I found myself at the movies or other loud environments.
If you attend group workout classes where they blast the music, I strongly encourage you to bring earplugs—many gyms provide disposable ones if you forget or don’t want to purchase your own.
And if you wear headphones or earbuds when you workout (or honestly anytime), PLEASE check the volume setting on your device to make sure the noise level isn’t too loud—especially since the sound is going directly into your ears. Some tips I learned to protect your hearing are:
Set the volume while you’re inside or somewhere without competing noise.
Ensure others cannot hear noise coming from your headphones.
Make sure the volume bar doesn’t go past the halfway point on your device.
Utilize apps that can help you identify the correct sound levels; Decibel X is a free and user-friendly option for Android and iOS.
Adjust the volume to just above where you can hear the words and enjoy the songs.
Making these small changes was a huge win for me, and I am optimistic that I’ll be able to enjoy working out to music well into my ‘later years.’ I hope you find them useful too!