A Healthy Diet Can Lower the Risk of Hearing Loss

Ron Middleton Hearing Health, hearing loss

Ron Middleton

Just about any health concern you can think of has a relation with healthy eating. Things like heart disease and diabetes have clear links to nutrition, but so do dimensions of mental health. Those who eat healthy diets report higher feelings of general well being, and recent medical research emphasizes the connection between body and mind. With these many benefits of good nutrition, you may already be on board with a good approach to food. Yet, new research reports a surprising link to prevention of an unexpected condition: hearing loss. Although researchers do not yet understand exactly how hearing loss and diet are connected, a recent study demonstrates the connection and points us toward new areas of exploration. Let’s take a look at the types of diet that the study prescribes as well as the ways it may prevent hearing loss in the future.

DASH and the Mediterranean Diet

If you follow health and wellness news, you may already be familiar with these two ways to improve nutrition: DASH (Dietary Approach to Stopping Hypertension) and the Mediterranean Diet. These two diet plans have a lot in common. They both emphasize the importance of whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables. As well, they both recommend limiting consumption of things like red meat and sugar-filled desserts. Although they have a lot in common, there are a few important differences. The DASH diet limits the consumption of total fats as well as saturated fats, but the Mediterranean Diet emphasizes healthy oils, such as olive oil. The Mediterranean Diet also prescribes eating seafood at last twice a week as a way to get protein and nutrients that are common along the Mediterranean where people tend to have long, healthy lives. The Mediterranean Diet also permits drinking wine within moderation. These diets have the dual benefit of great variety and being easy to stick to. Although other diets emphasize limiting portion size or severe restrictions of entire food groups, each of these diets maintains a healthy balance of a variety of good food with endless possibilities for cooking and eating out.

Diet and Hearing: The Possible Connection

What effects do these diets have on hearing ability? A recent study points to some striking statistics about the relation between diet and hearing ability. Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital published their account in the American Journal of Epidemiology, following a three-year study. They recruited women to take part at 19 different testing sites across the United States. These women gave an account of their eating habits over the last 20 years and these diets were correlated with the DASH and Mediterranean Diets. At the outset of the study, participants took a baseline hearing test in three ranges: low, middle, and high. After three years had passed, they took another hearing test to measure loss. Surprisingly a high percentage of these women who tended to be in their 50s and early 60s had already encountered hearing loss. Nearly half of them showed loss in the high range, and 38% demonstrated hearing loss in the vital midrange of human speech. However, the relation with dietary habits was even more surprising to researchers. Those whose diets over the past 20 years more closely matched the DASH and Mediterranean Diets had a 25% lower risk of hearing loss in the high range and 30% lower risk of hearing loss in the mid-range. These results made the scholars call for more research in the future. Particularly, they had to wonder if the results would hold up among other groups, because the participants tended to be white women with an average age of 59 years old. In addition they wanted to know a better explanation of how diet and hearing are related.

Lifestyle Hearing Solutions

If you think you may have some hearing loss occurring, don’t delay to get your hearing tested and to seek assistance from a hearing health professional at Lifestyle Hearing Solutions. However, even if you aren’t concerned about hearing loss, you might want to get a baseline determination of your hearing ability right away. With this information in hand, you can speculate if your healthy eating habits are preserving the hearing ability you have or if poor eating might be allowing your hearing to decline.