Nutrition and Hearing – Is There a Link?

by | May 1, 2023 | News

Very seldom is the link between proper nutrition and hearing health discussed. While it is generally known that eating a healthy and balanced diet can have a profoundly positive impact on your health, you may be wondering if the same type of diet can do great things for your hearing. Nutrition and hearing health are linked, and although no specific food has been found to prevent hearing loss, current research suggests your nutritional patterns can increase or decrease your risk of developing hearing loss.

Nutrition and Hearing Health Studies

A study conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, one of the leading hospitals in the United States, monitored the hearing health of more than 70,000 women on a variety of diets for a period of 22 years. Some of these diets included the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), the Alternate Mediterranean Diet, and the Alternative Healthy Eating Index. All the previously mentioned diets emphasize the importance of incorporating vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seafood, low-fat dairy, seeds, and nuts into one’s eating habits. They also discourage the frequent consumption of sugary drinks, processed foods, and red meats.

Women who followed healthier diets lowered their risk of hearing loss by at least 30 percent, with women who followed the three previously mentioned diets reducing their risk by the most. The study also found that diets heavy in minerals such as folic acid, zinc, and potassium lowered the risk of hearing loss.

Important Minerals

In addition to the previously mentioned minerals, other studies have shown there is a link between good hearing and certain nutrients. It is believed that potassium, a mineral commonly found in potatoes, bananas, and black beans, is directly involved in helping the inner ear convert sounds into signals for the brain. This has led many physicians and scientists to recommend the consumption of potassium to maintain hearing health.

Zinc, which can be found in cashews, dark chocolate, and almonds may be an effective treatment for tinnitus, a condition that causes buzzing or ringing in the ear without an external sound source.

Folic acid, which is typically found in many green vegetables, has been shown to slow the progression of hearing loss. The inner ear relies heavily on a regular flow of blood, and when its flow is interrupted, hearing loss may develop over time. Folic acid prevents such interruptions. The mineral can be found in broccoli, asparagus, and spinach.

Malnutrition and Hearing

Malnutrition can have a devastating impact on the human body, especially when it comes to auditory health. Malnutrition, as its name implies, occurs when the body doesn’t receive enough nutrients to function. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to consume a high number of calories and still suffer from malnutrition.

One study of 2193 teenage and young adult participants found that malnutrition inhibits the development of the inner ear. Malnourished individuals were also found to be twice as likely to develop hearing loss at a younger age than those who received an adequate amount of nutrients.

Find Out More

The HEAR Center strives to provide excellent hearing services and products to individuals from all walks of life. We understand the importance of nutrition and how it relates to hearing, and we can help you learn more about this subject. Find out more about us by visiting our website today.

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