Those who eat healthy diets record greater feelings of overall well-being, and evidence for the connection between a healthy body and mind has strengthened in recent years.
Just about any health condition you can think about can be improved with a healthy eating regimen, and hearing loss is no different. While scientists still do not precisely understand how hearing loss and diet are related, the connection has been highlighted in a few recent studies.
Studies show a correlation between hearing health and diet
Many hearing experts assumed hearing loss to be a natural and unavoidable result of getting old until recently. But recent research is pointing in the opposite direction.
A Harvard Medical School report authored by Dr. Sharon Curhan finds that a healthy diet is one way to slow the development of hearing loss, particularly for women. For 26 years, researchers monitored more than 80,000 women and found those whose general diets ranked high in health were 47 percent less likely than women whose diets had low ‘healthy’ scores to report moderate to severe hearing loss.
The same finding was found in another report by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 2017. The researchers developed 19 test sites throughout the United States and had licensed audiologists review changes over three years in the female participants’ hearing abilities. In particular, the audiologists were searching for improvements in the respondents’ pure-tone hearing thresholds, i.e., the lowest pitch sound they could hear. Audiologists played various frequency tones at varying loudness levels and asked them to signal when they heard the sound.
The findings showed that hearing loss was much less likely for those who kept to healthy diets, such as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet or the Alternate Mediterranean diet (AMED). Women on these kinds of diets had an approximately 30 percent lower risk of experiencing a mid-frequency drop in hearing. They also had a 25 percent lower chance of developing higher frequency hearing loss.
Much more research needs to be done on the topic, and these conclusions are a long way from being recorded as scientific fact. Still, they represent promising signs that healthy eating can lead to yet another positive outcome.
Wondering which nutrients could help you stave off a hearing loss? Here is a list of the nutrients you should be paying attention to.
- Folate: Folate is associated with prenatal vitamins most commonly. The benefits of folate, however, do not end at birth. High folate intake is associated with a decreased risk of hearing loss from aging. Good sources include spinach, kale, kidney beans, chickpeas, and lentils.
- Omega-3: A 2010 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that among respondents who consumed at least two servings of oily fish rich in Omega-3s weekly, the risk of age-related hearing loss was 42% lower. The best fish to consume are sardines, mackerel, and salmon.
- Potassium: Potassium helps regulate fluid levels in your body, including the vital fluids found in the inner ear. These fluids are instrumental in the hearing process. Eat bananas, spinach, onions, lima beans, and even yogurt and dairy to ensure you are getting enough potassium.
- Magnesium: A study of 300 respondents found that those who consumed a magnesium-rich drink regularly could maintain improved hearing even though they lived in noisy environments. Bananas, peanut butter, tomatoes, artichokes, almonds, black beans, and brown rice are rich in magnesium.
- Vitamins C and E: These vitamins contain antioxidants that prevent damage to healthy cells linked to your hearing. You can incorporate Vitamins C and E into your diet by consuming citrus fruit, almonds, sunflower oil, or peanut butter.
Protect Your Hearing
When we talk about hearing protection, we don’t always think about diet, but to keep your body and ears healthy, be careful of what you consume, and make sure you eat a wide range of healthy foods. Visit us for a hearing test if you think you have hearing loss, and we will find the right treatment to suit your needs.