It is widely known that what we eat impacts health in various ways. Healthy eating offers numerous benefits including boosting the immune system, increasing energy, supporting blood flow and muscle tissue, and decreasing health risks. Healthier dietary patterns can also support hearing health which is often under recognized benefit.
This is especially important because hearing loss is a pervasive medical condition people experience today. Nearly 1 in 8 people live with some degree of hearing loss, affecting over 48 million people in the United States. So eating healthier diets filled with specific nutrients can help protect hearing health, reducing the risk of hearing loss.
Link Between Diet & Hearing Health
Studies show that healthier dietary patterns cna reduce the risk of hearing loss. A significant study that investigated this link was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Researchers at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital evaluated the hearing health as well as dietary patterns for 81,818 people. Participants were assessed every 4 years for 22 years and researchers found that people following healthy diets were:
- 25% less likely to develop high frequency hearing loss
- 30% less likely to develop mid-frequency hearing loss
This data shows that people eating healthy were significantly less likely to develop hearing loss compared to those not following a healthy diet. Researchers suggest that increased intake of nutrients has many benefits for the body and the body’s systems including the auditory system – the sensory system for hearing. Healthy dietary patterns can reduce the risk of developing various medication conditions like hypertension and cardiovascular disease which can produce many complications including hearing loss. Healthful diets also promote blood flow and circulation which benefits the processing of sound in the ears.
Nutrients that Boost Your Hearing Health
When researchers in the Harvard study analyzed the type of diets participants were following, they were able to group them. They realized that they matched widely known and recommended diets including: Alternate Mediterranean Diet (AMED), Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), Alternative Healthy Eating Index (AHEI-2010). You likely recognize a few of these diets which emphasize vegetables, fruits, whole grains and reduced intake of processed foods. These plant based ways of eating are rich in various nutrients which offer countless benefits including boosting hearing health. A few of these nutrients include the following:
- Magnesium: foods that are rich in magnesium include tomatoes, potatoes, bananas, artichokes, and broccoli. Magnesium supports the protective barrier for hair cells in the cochlea. These sensory cells play a crucial role in how sound is processed, converting incoming sound waves into electrical signals that get sent to the brain.
- Potassium: food rich in potassium include mushrooms, avocados, sweet potatoes, and cucumbers. Potassium supports fluid levels in the inner ear which work together with sensory cells to process incoming soundwaves.
- Zinc: foods rich in zinc include beans, lentils, peanuts, pork, and almonds. Zinc helps boost the body’s immune system and supports cell growth in addition to healing. This helps the ears ward off infections from bacteria, supporting the ears with staying healthy.
- Folate: foods rich in folate include kale, chickpeas, brussel sprouts, and peas. Folate supports healthy circulation and blood flow throughout the body including the inner ear which houses the auditory system.
Healthy dietary patterns provide these nutrients which support the body in significant ways. This includes reducing health risks and supporting hearing health.
Prioritize Your Hearing Health Today
Hearing loss is the third most common health condition people experience today. Practicing ways to reduce your risk and support your hearing health is important to maintaining overall health and wellness. Integrating nutrients that boost hearing health is a great way to protect your hearing. Increasing your intake of these nutrients can be as simple as incorporating more fruits and veggies into your diet.
Another great way you can prioritize your hearing health is by having your hearing tested. This will provide you with a full picture of where your hearing health is at and if there are any symptoms that need to be treated. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a hearing consultation. Our practice provides a suite of quality services and individualized care that is committed to transforming hearing health and quality of life.