Hearing Health: Does Diet Impact How Well You Hear?
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Can Diet and Nutrition Influence Your Hearing Health?

A man in his Iowa home enjoys a health lunch that will help his hearing health.
– 4.5 minute read

Can Diet and Nutrition Influence Your Hearing Health? 

Hearing is one of our fundamental senses, and healthy ears are critical for communicating, staying connected with others, and remaining aware of our environment. It’s common to consider the impact of loud noises or aging on hearing health, but the connection between diet and good ears is often overlooked. As the team of audiologists at Concept by Iowa Hearing locations offers solutions to hear better, we also explain how nutrition plays a pivotal role in hearing health and why choosing a healthy diet can potentially help in this area. 

What Is the Link Between Hearing and Nutrition? 

The ear is a complex organ comprised of the outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear, each playing a crucial role in the way we perceive sound. Sound waves travel through the ear canal, causing the eardrum to vibrate. These vibrations are then transmitted through the bones of the middle ear to the cochlea, where they are converted into electrical signals for the brain to interpret. Nutrients feed every part of our body, and the ear is no exception. Adequate blood flow and protecting cells from oxidative damage are crucial for maintaining hearing, both of which can be influenced by your diet. 

Beneficial Nutrients for Hearing Health

Specific nutrients have been shown to have a positive impact on maintaining healthy ears:

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Found in fish like salmon and trout, these healthy fats are known to support heart and brain health and may also play a role in maintaining the integrity of the structures within the ear.
  • Antioxidants – These substances combat oxidative stress that can damage the inner ear. Vitamins A, C, and E and minerals such as magnesium and zinc are potent antioxidants readily available in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
  • B-Vitamins – Particularly folic acid, helps maintain low homocysteine levels in the blood, which is an amino acid linked with heart and possibly hearing health issues. 

The Impact of Poor Diet on Hearing 

Just as choosing the right foods can promote healthy hearing habits, unhealthy dietary patterns, especially those high in sugar and fat, can reduce blood flow and increase inflammation, adversely affecting the delicate inner workings of the ear. Individuals with high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes are at higher risk of developing hearing problems. Healthy living and diets are directly related to managing the symptoms of these health concerns. Not only will healthy choices have a positive impact on high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, but they’ll benefit your ears too. 

Case Studies Linking Diet to Hearing Health

A significant study conducted among 81,818 women of the Nurses’ Health Study II between 1991 and 2013 brings encouraging insights into the connection between diet and hearing loss when studied over a long period. The results of the study were published by the Journal of Nutrition and found that participants who adhered to healthful dietary patterns like the AMED (Alternate Mediterranean), DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), and AHEI-2010 (Alternate Healthy Eating Index-2010) demonstrated a lower risk of experiencing moderate or worse hearing loss.

Incorporate Hearing-Healthy Foods Into Your Daily Meals

Making small but significant changes in your diet can ripple positively toward your hearing health and help your cardiovascular system. Those interested in taking a similar approach to the women in the health study can:

  • Include fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids in their diet
  • Enjoy a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables daily for their antioxidant benefits
  • Opt for whole grains and nutrient-dense nuts and seeds to boost your intake of B vitamins.
  • Limit processed foods and those high in sugars and unhealthy fats, which can impede healthy circulation

The Diet-Hearing Connection

A balanced, nutritious diet is not only the foundation for overall healthy living but also plays an important role in maintaining good hearing health. Eating a variety of healthful foods can help safeguard your hearing, keeping you engaged and attuned to the sounds that enrich your life. If you’re searching for a new way to protect your hearing, looking at your plate could be a great place to start.

Personalized Advice for Hearing Health

If you want to learn more about healthy hearing habits, contact a Concept by Iowa Hearing location in Iowa to meet with an audiologist. Incorporating these dietary practices into your life is usually sound advice for most people, but diet alone won’t prevent or cure hearing loss. If you have concerns about your ability to hear, we offer tests and hearing aids so you can take control of your hearing ability. Locate one of our hearing care centers near you and schedule an appointment with our team.

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