Our Diet and Hearing Health

We have written many articles on how to protect your hearing and prevent hearing loss; healthy foodthe majority of them focus on turning down the noise, wearing hearing protection, stop smoking and avoiding ototoxic medications. Along with check-ups with your audiologist, these are some of the most effective ways to prevent hearing loss. Today however we are going to focus on another way we can help to protect our hearing and hopefully stave off age related hearing loss and other acquired hearing loss.

You have most likely heard the expression “you are what you eat.” If you put junk food into your body it has absolutely no health benefits and some potentially serious negative effects on your health. Well the same is true for hearing health. Our hearing health is positively impacted when we eat a diet high in certain vitamins and minerals and negatively impacted when we indulge in foods high in saturated fats and cholesterol.

A study conducted by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, discovered that women participants who consumed two or more servings of fish per week had a lower risk of hearing loss than those who didn’t. It didn’t seem to matter what type of fish was consumed, any type such as light fish, dark fish, tuna or shellfish showed a decreased risk of hearing loss. In fact there was a 20 percent lower risk of hearing loss in those who consumed two or more servings of fish a week when compared to those who rarely consumed fish – this is a quite significant decrease.

There have been other studies done that show a correlation between nutrition and hearing health. The Journal of Nutrition suggested that individuals over the age of 50 with low levels of the B-vitamin folate had a 35 percent higher risk of developing hearing loss than those whose levels were in the normal range. Folate deficiency is a known risk factor for heart disease which could be why it affects the ears as well. Folate deficiency causes homocysteine levels to rise which could restrict blood flow to the cochlea causing damage.

More research needs to be done in this area, but it stands to reason that healthy eating habits can slow the onset of hearing loss. Some other minerals in foods that are thought to protect hearing are:

  • Omega 3 Fats and Vitamin D – tuna, salmon, and sardines
  • Vitamins C and E – most fruits and vegetables
  • Anti-oxidants and Folic Acid –asparagus, spinach, broccoli, beans, liver, eggs and nuts
  • Zinc – oysters, lamb, liver and dark chocolate
  • Magnesium – artichokes, avocados, bananas, broccoli and potatoes



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