Do you have hearing loss? Along with diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, hearing loss is one of the most common chronic conditions faced by older Americans. You want to enjoy your retirement in great health, and looking after your hearing health will help you manage you overall health and well being, and improve your quality of life. You’ll enjoy all the sounds around you, easily follow conversations, and reduce your risk of an accident or injury. Did you know your diet can impact your hearing? A healthy diet can lower the risk of hearing loss, so take a look at what’s in the fridge, and make sure you’re eating for your hearing.
Studying Diet and Hearing loss
A recent study at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that certain diets can have a major impact on your overall health and also affect your hearing. Changing your diet, and eating healthy foods can reduce your risk of hearing loss, as well as helping you look and feel your best. Lead author of the study Sharon Curhan, MD, explains that the study focused on finding modifiable risk factors for hearing loss, or factors you can change, such as diet or exercise. Knowing these factors can help you do the right thing for your hearing health. “The benefits of adherence to healthful dietary patterns have been associated with numerous positive health outcomes,” said Curhan, “and eating a healthy diet may also help reduce the risk of hearing loss.”
The study was a unified effort across 19 testing locations in the U.S. Participants were women in their 50s and 60s, and they followed a number of different diets. Audiologists tested their hearing several times over the course of a three-year period to see how diet was affecting their hearing.
The Best Diet for Your Hearing Health
The diets that showed the best results, both for overall health as well as hearing health, were the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) and the Mediterranean diets. Researchers found that women who followed healthy diets, ate lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, had a 30% lower chance of developing mid-frequency hearing loss! These frequencies are important for speech understanding, and if you can continue to hear at mid- to high-frequency ranges, you’ll have a much easier time following speech.
Foods that Promote Hearing
Eating a healthy diet is great for your overall health, as well as your hearing health. Foods that are great for your ears are rich in vitamins and minerals, and will keep your ears happy and healthy. Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and lettuce are high in folate, and bananas, oranges, and melons will give you a boost of potassium. This helps regulate the fluid in your body, as well as the fluids in your inner ear. Nuts, seeds, and fish are high in Omega-3s and zinc that can prevent a sudden hearing loss and boost your immune system. Eggs and fortified milks will maintain your vitamin D levels and keep the bones in your ear strong and healthy. Finally, foods rich in magnesium, such as bananas, artichokes and broccoli, can protect the delicate hair cells in the inner ear from damage due to exposure to loud sounds. Magnesium will also promote blood flow, and keep the ear cells stocked with oxygen-rich blood.
Test Your Hearing Early
Another takeaway from this study is that hearing loss is far more common than you might think, and starts earlier than expected. “We were surprised that so many women demonstrated hearing decline over such a relatively short period of time,” explained Curhan. Many of the women showed the early signs of hearing loss in their mid-50s. Most people don’t start thinking about their hearing health until much later. Don’t wait until you’re in your 60s to look after your hearing, but get a hearing test early to make sure you’re hearing clearly.
My Hearing Centers
At My Hearing Centers, we have all your hearing needs covered, and we’ll work with you at every step of the way to make sure you’re enjoying crystal clear hearing. From a comprehensive hearing test to the best devices to help you hear, trust the experts at My Hearing Centers and visit us today to take control of your hearing health.