The Unexpected Way Taking A Spin Class Every Day Can Affect Your Hearing

Spin classes can be a great way to burn some calories and have fun while doing it. The instructor is energized, everyone is amped up, and the music is pumping. But while those tunes can be a great way to inspire exercise, they could also damage your hearing.

If any part of the ear is damaged — no matter how small — it can lead to hearing loss, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Our brains detect sound with the approximately 16,000 hair cells located in our inner ears. When we experience loud sounds like those at a concert or sporting event, the hair cells bend like a blade of grass, making it difficult to hear. After an hour or two, they straighten back out and we can hear clearly again. But if the cells are repeatedly exposed to loud sounds, they can eventually get destroyed, leading to permanent hearing loss. Along with the hair cells, loud sounds can also damage the auditory nerve deep in the inner ear.

How spin class can damage your hearing over time

According to Dr. Roshini Rajapaksa, adults can tolerate sound as loud as 85 decibels all day long without it damaging our hearing (via Health Magazine). But as sounds get louder, that window of time shrinks. Sound at 94 decibels can only be tolerated for one hour before our hearing is potentially damaged. And those spin classes that jazz everyone up with the roaring jams? That music is typically blasted up to 99 decibels.

A 2021 study published in the journal Noise & Health explored the possibility of lower sound levels in spin classes having the same impact as higher sound levels on exercise intensity. Researchers measured sound levels in 18 spin classes over a two-week period and found that 25.9% of participants reported auditory symptoms after classes. Sound levels were decreased by three decibels in week two of the study, and participants were four times more likely to prefer a decrease rather than an increase in sound levels. In fact, participants were 23 times more likely to report the music as too loud to begin with. And there was no significant difference in their reported exercise intensity when sound levels were decreased.

Dr. Rajapaksa recommends wearing earplugs to spin classes, so you can still get the benefit of the upbeat music without sacrificing your hearing (via Health Magazine).