Can what we eat affect how we hear? It appears that a healthy lifestyle can do your body good and also possibly prevent or delay hearing loss. Certain nutrients help to heal ear tissue and some help to improve blood flow and oxygen to the inner ear. Still other nutrients fight free radicals, which may improve noise induced hearing loss. Here are some of those nutrients and their effect on your hearing:
Omega 3 Fats and Vitamin D: The high levels of Omega fats and Vitamin D found in salmon an other fish have been found to have positive effects on hearing loss. Studies have shown that adults who ate fish twice weekly had a 45% lower chance of facing age-related hearing loss than non-fish eaters. According to researchers, this is because Omega-3 fats strengthen the blood vessels in our inner ear (audicus.com).
B12 and Folic Acid: In a research study from the University of Georgia in 1998, older people with hearing loss were found to have vitamin B12 levels 38% lower and folic acid levels 31% lower than people with normal hearing. These deficiencies lead to high levels of the toxin homocysteine, which encourages cholesterol deposits on artery walls. This results in reduced blood flow and reduced oxygen and and nutrients to organs, including the cochlea. Another study by the Institute of Noise Hazards Research in Israel found that people with chronic tinnitus and noise induced hearing loss are 2.6 times more likely to be Vitamin B 12 deficient. Some foods high in B vitamins include wheat germ, broccoli, beets and sweet potatoes and spinach.
Magnesium: Magnesium, commonly found in bananas, potatoes, artichokes and broccoli has been shown to provide additional protection against noise induced hearing loss (audicus.com).
Zinc: Zinc may help to relieve tinnitus in patients with low blood zinc levels. 52% of these patients reported an improvement in tinnitus (Nutritional Therapy for Hearing Problems). Zinc may also protect us against age-related hearing loss. Zinc is found in dark chocolate and oysters.
Vitamins C and E: These vitamins keep free radicals in check and strengthen oveall immune system. Good foods with Vitamin C include fruits such as oranges and vegetables such as bell peppers.
A wise retired ENT physician(who reads my article!) recently told me that if we eat proper foods, especially 10 Superfoods, we will ensure that each cell of our body has what it needs for proper cellular metabolism. Our inner ear, and all organs of the body, will benefit from the nutrients feed them. The 10 Superfoods are: almonds, apples, bananas, blueberries, broccoli, beans, beets, spinach, sweet potatoes and wheat germ. (from Healthy Years) These foods may also make you live longer and healthier. The wise doctor is in his nineties, by the way. How many of these foods did you eat today? Eat well. Live well. Hear well.
Lori Biasotti, Au.D., CCC-A is an audiologist, with a private audiology/hearing aid dispensing office called Family Hearing Center in the Hudson Valley Towne Center in Fishkill, NY. Visit our website at www.familyhearing.org to get to know us. Call (845)897-3059 to schedule an appointment. If you have a hearing evaluation, done by an audiologist, that is less than six months, you may schedule a complimentary hearing aid consultation and/or demonstration.