Exercise and noise exposure causes temporary hearing loss. Yet, a direct relationship may exist between cardiovascular health and hearing. The purpose of this study was to determine whether noise and exercise caused different levels of hearing loss depending on one's cardiovascular fitness. Twenty-eight volunteers were considered: high fit VO2peak = 48.5 +/- 1.6 ml[middle dot]kg-1[middle dot]min-1, N = 10), moderately fit VO2peak = 38.1 +/- 0.9 ml[middle dot]kg-1[middle dot]min-1, N = 9), and low fit VO2peak = 30.4 +/- 0.9 ml[middle dot]kg-1[middle dot]min-1, N = 9). Hearing ability at 2000, 3000, and 4000 Hz was assessed following 10 min of noise (N), exercise (E), and noise-and-exercise (N&E). The high fit group consistently demonstrated better hearing after all conditions compared to the low fit group. Significant differences between the high and low fit groups always occurred during N&E and sometimes during N E did not cause significant hearing loss in any group. Cardiovascular health as indicated by a mean VO2peak = 48.5 ml[middle dot]kg-1min-1 is associated with less hearing loss after 10 min of either N or N&E. Although the mechanisms have not been identified, these results support the existence of a cardiovascular health-hearing synergism.
(C)1994The American College of Sports Medicine