Good foods for good hearing health

Good foods for good hearing health

Hearing loss is the most frequent symptom of ear disorders. The incidence of these disorders is rising at an accelerated pace, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). 

Causes of hearing loss involve a combination of factors, including genetics and environmental aspects, such as noise exposure, toxicity, and aging. Lifestyle habits are also key players in increasing the probability of suffering hearing loss, with higher risk in smokers and people who have diabetes or cardiovascular problems. 

Avoiding risk factors and identifying protective ones could help prevent and potentially repair hearing damage before it reaches an irreversible state.

Nutrition affects hearing loss

Nutrition is a powerful weapon to fight against hearing loss. One of the factors associated with age-related auditory loss is free radical formation. The free radicals cause the narrowing of blood vessels, leading to the death of inner ear cells. 

Antioxidant-rich foods, such as vitamins and minerals, can help inhibit the formation of free radicals and protect our hearing health.

Key nutrients to enhance hearing health

  • Vitamins A, C, and E act as free radical scavengers. Vitamin A is found in sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale, bell peppers, apricots, and mangoes. Citrus fruits, bell peppers, almonds, and sunflower seeds are excellent sources of vitamins C and E. 
  • Magnesium can protect the nerves in the inner ear, acting in synergy with vitamins A, C, and E. Low levels might make the auditory system more susceptible to damage. Foods like bananas, artichokes, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, whole wheat bread, and brown rice are rich in this mineral. 
  • Selenium can be found in Brazil nuts, seafood, meat such as beef or chicken, eggs, dairy products, and legumes.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids are found in salmon, sardines, and trout. They can help strengthen the blood vessels in the ear’s sensory system, potentially improving hearing.

What food should we avoid protecting our ears?

Protecting your hearing health involves incorporating beneficial nutrients and foods into your diet and being mindful of foods and substances that might negatively impact you.

Food high in carbohydrates, fat, and cholesterol harms hearing health. This kind of food can damage the blood supply to the ear due to the blockage of the vessels, reducing auditory sensitivity. Excessive sodium intake can also affect the health of blood vessels due to increased blood pressure. Foods high in sodium include processed foods, canned soups, and fast foods. Managing blood pressure is essential for hearing health.

A holistic approach is key

Embracing a diet rich in essential nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and vitamins can significantly bolster hearing health. However, good hearing health transcends diet alone; it needs a holistic approach that includes regular hearing check-ups, protective measures against loud noises, and overall healthy lifestyle choices.

Sources

Jung SY, Kim SH, Yeo SG. Association of Nutritional Factors with Hearing Loss. Nutrients. 2019 Feb 1;11(2):307. doi: 10.3390/nu11020307



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