The diet we maintain and the exercise we get have a huge impact on our health. While there are a number of old adages reminding us to eat certain foods to help with certain ailments (think vitamin C for a cold) we often forget about the benefits that a proper diet can have for our hearing health.
Here, we’ll look at some of the latest research on how diet affects our hearing health and then discuss what specific vitamins and minerals can do to help.
A Study On Healthy Eating and Hearing Health
A new study by researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital looked at the correlation between different diets and the risk of developing hearing loss. They found that consistent healthy eating may lower one’s risk of hearing loss by 30% – a staggering figure.
In particular, the researchers looked at the Alternate Mediterranean diet (AMED), Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), and the Alternative Healthy Eating Index-2010 (AHEI-2010) in 70,966 women who were followed for 22 years.
The longitudinal study found that the participants whose diets were most similar to the AMED or DASH diets had around a 30% lower risk of developing moderate hearing loss than people who had other dietary patterns. Although more research is needed to look at the reasons behind this correlation, this study promotes the notion that healthy eating could positively benefit our hearing health.
Minerals for Healthy Hearing
When it comes to maintaining a diet primed for good hearing health, many people don’t know where to start. It is, of course, important to maintain a balanced and generally healthy diet, but one can also benefit from seeking out certain vitamins and minerals that specifically benefit our hearing. Here are a few:
- Potassium is a mineral that regulates the fluid levels in your body. This is incredibly important for our hearing as potassium affects the fluid in our inner ear that translates noises into electrical impulses for the brain. These levels naturally decrease as we age, but eating more potassium can help combat this issue.
- Folic Acid is responsible for the new cell growth in the body. A number of studies have shown that low levels of folic acid can result in age-related hearing loss known as presbycusis. There is some evidence that consuming folic acid can slow down the development of this kind of hearing loss.
- Magnesium is important for the ears in a number of ways. Research has shown that magnesium, along with Vitamins A, C, and E can protect our hearing by forming a sort of protective barrier for the delicate hair cells in the inner ear. Plus, a lack of magnesium can cause blood vessels to shrink in the inner ear, thereby depriving it of oxygen and reducing its auditory capacity.
- Zinc is important for our immune system and is critical for cell growth and wound healing. This means it can help ward off the bacteria and viruses that cause colds and even ear infections.
Ultimately, keeping a healthy diet can have a wide range of possible health benefits, including to our hearing health. If you have any concerns about your hearing, it’s important to speak to your hearing healthcare professional who can offer personalized guidance to best meet your needs.