You can support your hearing in lots of ways, from reducing exposure to noise, to wearing the right kind of ear protection, but did you know that what you eat can also play a part? Two recent studies have confirmed that your diet may affect your hearing.
Study #1: A poor diet can lead to poor hearing health
A recent study that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that young adults with inadequate early childhood diets were twice as likely to experience hearing loss as their counterparts.
Experts at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have studied the connection between diet and hearing health by analyzing the hearing of 2200 young adults in Nepal. Such young adults had already taken part in a clinical experiment that took place between 1989 and 1991, when they were elementary-age children. Researchers compared their hearing from 2006 to 2008 and found that those who has lower-than-average weight and height (as a result of malnutrition) showed signs of hearing loss significantly more often than those of normal height and weight.
Study #2: A healthy diet can lead to good hearing health
A Brigham Women’s Hospital study has suggested that eating a healthy diet can minimize the risk of developing hearing loss.
Using survey data obtained from the Nurses ‘ Health Study II Conservation of Hearing Study (CHEARS), they looked at three-year alterations in hearing sensitivity to certain frequencies of sound and found that women whose nutrition habits were more closely aligned to commonly recommended healthy dietary patterns had a significantly lower likelihood of age-related hearing loss.
To measure hearing, audiologists employed by the researchers identified changes in the pure-tone hearing levels of the participants, in order to discover the absolute quietest sound that they were capable of hearing. Then, the research team cross referenced these test results with how tightly the women’s diets adhered to the ideal of a healthy diet using on over 20 years of dietary information that had been gathered on the women.
“The association between diet and hearing sensitivity decline encompassed frequencies that are critical for speech understanding,” Curhan says.
Which nutrients should I prioritize to promote healthy hearing?
Brigham and Women’s Hospital experts confirmed that women who stuck to a healthy diet closely, such as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet or the Alternative Mediterranean Diet (AMED) diet, were less likely than others to experience compromised hearing. Here are some of the common nutrients to be gained through these diets.
- Folate: Folate is most commonly linked with prenatal vitamins because it is an essential nutrient to take during pregnancy. Yet folate’s advantages don’t end at birth. High intake of folate is correlated with a reduced risk of hearing loss from aging. Have your fill with spinach, kale, roman lettuce, kidney beans, chickpeas and lentils.
- Omega-3: By upping your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, you could be delaying the arrival of hearing loss through aging. Although we usually have our fill with fish oil soft gels, more delicious ways to get enough is to eat salmon, sardines or mackerel. If you’re not into fish, you could also try walnuts or chia seeds.
- Potassium: This is an important nutrient for regulating the fluids in your body. You may not realize that the ear is also home to a number of important fluids too! Try including some sweet potatoes or bananas in your diet.
- Magnesium: A study of 300 respondents found that although they lived in noisy environments, those who drank a magnesium-rich drink daily were able to sustain better hearing. Food high in magnesium contains bananas, peanut butter, onions, artichokes, almonds, black beans and brown rice.
- Vitamins C and E: Both of these vitamins have antioxidants which prohibits damage to healthy hearing-linked cells. Eating citrus fruit, almonds, sunflower oil, or peanut butter can integrate Vitamins C and E into your diet.
Evergreen Audiology Clinic
You are taking a big step towards protecting your cognition in older age by simply booking an appointment with us at Evergreen Audiology Clinic. If there is hearing loss present, we will be able to recommend hearing aids to suit your specific hearing needs. These devices can help immensely not only on your social interactions, mood, and quality of life, but also on your capacity to concentrate as you age.