There are many reasons to stick to a healthy diet, from keeping us energetic to strengthening our immune system to lowering our cholesterol. A couple of studies have also revealed that a healthy diet could support your hearing health and also help lower the risk for developing hearing loss!
Understanding Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is the third most common medical condition in the United States, affecting approximately 48 million people. As an invisible condition that happens gradually, people do not immediately recognize the signs of hearing loss and will accommodate their diminished hearing abilities in a variety of ways.
Leaving hearing loss untreated could lead to a series of negative consequences, with links to depression, stress, anxiety, and an increased risk for dementia. Additionally, people with untreated hearing loss are found to have lower earning power than colleagues with normal hearing or colleagues who treat hearing loss with the use of hearing aids.
Hearing specialists encourage adults over the age of 50 to schedule an annual hearing test to monitor their hearing abilities. One in three people over the age of 65 experience some degree of hearing loss. Treating hearing loss helps reconnect people to their loved ones and improves overall quality of life.
A New Study on that Focuses on Healthy Diet and Hearing Loss in Women
Dr. Sharon Curhan of the Channing Division of Network Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston conducted a study on the benefit of a healthy diet and its impact on age-related hearing loss in US women. She says, “Although hearing loss is thought to be an unavoidable companion to aging, findings from our research have highlighted a number of dietary factors that can be modified and may reduce the risk of hearing loss.”
Dr. Curhan’s study was built upon the foundation of previous studies that explored the benefits of vitamins and minerals on hearing health. Dr. Curhan’s team was specifically interested in whether dietary patterns made a difference on a person’s hearing health. In this study, researchers tracked the diets of 80,000 women for 26 years. They found that women “whose diets scored highest for health and quality were up to 47 percent less likely to experience moderate or severe hearing loss than women with the lowest dietary scores.”
In other words – yes, a healthy diet can in fact support better hearing health!
Nutrients That Support Your Hearing Health
One way to support your hearing health is to make sure your diet is full of nutrients. How is your diet connected to your hearing health? In order to function properly, your auditory system needs a good supply of oxygen delivered to the small capillaries and hair cells of the inner ear. Researchers have found that by including certain nutrients in our diets, we may support our auditory system “to help boost hearing or even prevent or delay hearing loss.”
In the Daily Sentinel, Dr. Joe McDermott discusses how nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, folic acid, and vitamins B12, C, D, and E, support healthy hearing. Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish such as sardines, tuna, and salmon, have anti-inflammatory that strengthen blood vessels. Studies have shown that “people who eat two or more portions of fish per week are 42% less likely to develop presbycusis compared with those who do not eat fish on a regular basis.” For people who don’t like seafood, never fear! Omega-3 fatty acids are found in certain nuts, soybeans, and spinach. Everyday foods are chockful of vitamins B12, C, D, and E, and minerals such zinc and magnesium: tofu, red meat, eggs, and low-fat dairy, and colorful fruits and vegetables.
From the Kresge Institute of the University of Michigan, two researchers made an important discovery. Dr. Colleen Le Prell and Dr. Joseph Miller gave guinea pigs certain antioxidants and vitamins (A, C, E) and magnesium before and after exposure to high levels of noise (the highest was 120 decibels), over five days. They found that “high doses of certain antioxidants reduce noise-induced hearing loss in animals when taken both before and after loud noise” and that “noise exposure damages sensory cells by the formation of free radicals, damaging molecules known to cause cell death.” On the positive side, Dr. Le Prell and Dr. Miller discovered that antioxidants prevented “free radical damage by binding to free radical molecules and rendering them harmless.”
Visit Us at Fidelity Hearing Centers
Have you experienced changes in your hearing ability? There is no reason to live with untreated hearing loss. Contact us at Fidelity Hearing Center today to schedule a consultation and hearing test.