Feed Your Ears: Nutrition and Hearing
It’s no secret that eating well is crucial to good health, and poor nutrition can lead to a lot of health issues. However, many people are unaware of the link between hearing loss and nutrition. The food that you eat can have a big impact on your hearing health, so it is important that you consider nutrition, especially as you get older and you are more likely to develop hearing loss.
A healthy diet cannot reverse hearing issues, and if you are concerned, it is still important to see an audiologist. However, eating well can protect your hearing health and reduce the likelihood of developing hearing issues while a poor diet could increase the risk.
So, what is the link between nutrition and hearing?
Studies into the link between diet and hearing found that there are a number of important nutrients that can improve hearing health and reduce the chances of developing hearing loss. Potassium, for example, has a big impact on the way that your inner ear processes sounds and sends signals to the brain. Eating a diet that is high in potassium can help you maintain your hearing at its current levels. It is found in foods like bananas, potatoes and some beans, so try to add these to your diet on a regular basis. Having said that, it will not reverse existing hearing loss problems, so if you have noticed a change to your hearing, you still need to seek advice from an audiologist.
Zinc is also excellent for improving your ear health and some studies found that it can be a good way to treat and manage tinnitus. Tinnitus is a common condition that causes a ringing or buzzing sound in the ears and the intensity of the sound varies a lot. People with a mild case of tinnitus may find relief from eating more foods that are rich in zinc. In more serious cases, you may need to see an audiologist and explore advanced treatments, like hearing aids. The good news is zinc is easy to get into your diet because it is in a lot of foods like nuts, seeds, poultry, lean meats and beans.
If you want to slow the onset of hearing loss, folic acid is a key nutrient to add to your diet. An amino acid called homocysteine restricts blood flow to the ears and this can lead to long term hearing loss issues. Folic acid metabolizes this amino acid, helping to regulate the blood flow to the ears and keep them healthy. Leafy green vegetables like spinach are one of the best sources of folic acid.
The Impact of Malnutrition
When you are not giving your body all of the nutrients it needs, your health will go down in a number of ways. Research shows that malnutrition in children can slow growth and development in many areas of the body, including the inner ear. As they grow up, they are more likely to experience hearing loss than people with a balanced diet that is rich in vitamins and nutrients. This can even affect children before birth and if mothers are malnourished while pregnant, their child will be more likely to develop hearing loss.
Increased Risks of Tinnitus
Although zinc has been shown to help manage the symptoms of tinnitus, your diet can also increase your risk. Studies into the relationship between your diet and tinnitus showed that people eating a diet that is high in calcium, iron and fat are more likely to develop a ringing or buzzing in their ears. So, even though calcium and iron are beneficial, it is important to limit your intake if you want to protect your hearing health.
Diabetes and Hearing Loss
Eating a poor diet and gaining weight can lead to type two diabetes. This creates many health challenges and can lead to hearing loss issues. This is because having diabetes can cause damage to the nerves and blood vessels in the inner ear. Even people with prediabetes have an increased risk of hearing loss in the future.
The link between hearing and nutrition is very significant but it is something that people are not very aware of. If you want to protect your ear health, it is important that you are conscious about what you eat and you give your body all of the right nutrients. However, even people with a healthy diet can experience hearing loss.
If you have noticed a change in your hearing it is important to see an audiologist right away. Give the Audiology and Hearing Aid Center a call today at 920-969-1768 to learn more about how we can help.