You know your meal choices can affect everything from your waistline to your well-being. But here’s some food for thought: What if you could eat your way to healthier hearing? According to a 2018 study on the role diet plays in hearing loss, what you put on your plate could affect how well you hear.
Researchers monitored the hearing health of more than 81,000 women following various diets for 22 years. The women whose diets most closely matched one of three healthy eating patterns—the Alternate Mediterranean Diet (AMED), the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) and the 2010 Alternative Healthy Eating Index (AHEI-2010)—had a 30% lower risk of developing hearing loss.
The AMED, SADH and AHE-2010 diets are rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, seafood and poultry. They also all recommend limiting foods high in sodium and LDL cholesterol and cutting out the consumption of refined and red meats, processed foods and sugary drinks.
How Does Diet Affect Hearing?
A healthy diet is linked to a lower risk of heart disease and conditions that can harm the arteries and veins. Adequate blood flow to the ears is crucial for proper hearing, and the inner ear—the part that detects sound—is particularly sensitive. Healthy foods are also rich in antioxidants, offering protection against oxidative damage and inflammation, and eating them can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
In addition, following a good-for-you diet may also help manage two conditions commonly associated with hearing loss: diabetes and obesity.
Hearing loss is twice as prevalent in adults with diabetes compared to those without the disease. Experts believe diabetes may lead to hearing loss by damaging the nerves and blood vessels of the ear. Developing a healthy-eating plan under the guidance of a dietician can help individuals with diabetes control their blood sugar.
Obesity has also been linked to hearing loss, with one study of 68,000 women concluding that a higher body-mass index (BMI) led to a higher risk of hearing loss. Women with BMIs between 30 and 39 were 17-22% more likely to report hearing loss than women whose BMIs were less than 25. Working with a doctor to design a healthy diet is one way for obese individuals to manage their condition.
Interested in More Info About Hearing Health?
A healthy diet alone will not prevent hearing loss. That’s because hearing loss has multiple causes, including noise exposure and age. However, being proactive about your hearing health can make a difference in your quality of life.
If you’re concerned you or someone you care about may have a hearing loss, call Precision Hearing at 352-765-8008 today to schedule an appointment.