You can build up dangerous pressure in your inner ears during exercises if you strain too hard or hold your breath during strenuous routines. This pressure can be quite damaging to the eardrums and can cause permanent hearing loss.

High intensity workouts such as CrossFit or similar mixtures of weightlifting, cardio and core, and even intense yoga, are designed to push your body to the limit and get you in top shape, but the pressure of straining and holding your breath can lead to small tears in the membrane between the middle ear and the inner ear. These tears can allow fluid to leak through the tear into the middle ear.

It’s not just straining and pressure either. The crashing and clanging of weights being dropped or thrown to the ground in the gym can use hearing damage and tinnitus.

What can you do to avoid these dangers? For starters, remember to breathe when you exercise. You can still brace your core whilst continuing to maintain steady breathing. This way you will avoid the buildup of pressure. Also, take it easy on yourself. Don’t strain yourself too hard. Work up to higher intensity and weights gradually. Start from where you are now, not from where you wish you were.

In noisy gyms with clanging equipment and pumping music, consider wearing earplugs to protect your hearing, or you could always ask those around you to refrain from slamming the weights out of courtesy to others. Likewise, try to avoid throwing the weights down for your own safety and the comfort and safety of others. Also, if you wear headphones for your own personal exercise tracks, keep the volume at a reasonable level to avoid damage.

By reducing your weights you’ll help to reduce the pressure from strain. You can achieve the same result with greater repetitions of less weight.

Another thing to be aware of is avoiding sports or exercises where you receive knocks or blows to the head, such as in boxing or wrestling as this can also affect your hearing.

Don’t ignore your symptoms hoping that they’ll go away. You should get your hearing checked if you suspect you may have done yourself damage. If you are starting to hear a ringing or if sounds seem muffled, or if you experience dizziness after working out you’ll want to have a specialist evaluate your hearing.