This happens almost every time when I do high intensity interval training (HIIT). Even though I'm a physical therapist and a master trainer, I still can't really figure this out. I've read online that this could due to the fact that I may not breathe properly, especially during really high intensity workout sessions.

Has anyone experienced ear popping or making a muffle sound with each breath during weight training sessions, especially during HIIT with weights? It does go away a few minutes after each session.

1 Answer 1


I've experienced similar symptoms during CrossFit metcon style workouts where I'm breathing heavily in conjunction with lifting moderately heavy weights. The sensation is not unlike the blocked/muffled ears you experience during take-off or landing when flying (but without the discomfort).

I spoke to my GP about it and his assessment was that it sounded like Pulsatile Tinnitus caused by changes in my blood pressure while lifting (and potentially exacerbated by me losing concentration and paying less attention to my breathing during the lift than I should).

I do have periods of higher than normal resting blood pressure, so a quick blood pressure check might be something to investigate. I still occasionally get the weird ear symptom when my resting blood pressure is normal however.

  • Very Interesting. I do have normal resting blood pressure however. I think this phenomenon is similar to a few more people that I've recently came across, and they all said the same thing. Let's just hope it's more due to improperly breathing during HIIT...
    – QikMood
    May 5, 2015 at 19:44
  • I just did my HIIT workout, and this time I really focused on my breathing technique (in my nose and out my mouth and as regular as possible). I didn't experience this phenomenon just then. Perhaps for me at least is the breathing technique.
    – QikMood
    May 6, 2015 at 4:08
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    @QikMood, it's a shame automatic blood pressure monitors are so bulky and require inflation - I'd love to wear one while I'm lifting to confirm the ear noise perfectly correlates to a jump in my blood pressure. Anecdotally my findings are the same as yours and it's only when I get sloppy with the lifts and breathing that I get the muffled symptom. Thanks for the update - it's nice to know I'm not the only one that suffers from it.
    – ScheuNZ
    May 6, 2015 at 4:23

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