Every time you visit your doctor, he makes sure to tell you about the importance of eating a healthy diet. Staying fit and watching your waistline can have numerous health benefits, such as longer lifespan, fewer trips to the hospital, and even improved mental and emotional states. But did you know that some foods can actually help you maintain your hearing ability—and even prevent hearing loss in later years?
How Good Health and Hearing Are Related
Good hearing and good health go hand-in-hand. People who do not suffer from hearing loss are more likely to stay active and social in their later years, and are less likely to suffer from memory problems, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia. In addition, people who continue to stay in good health as they age are less likely to suffer from hearing loss, particularly if they exercise regularly and eat a nutrient-rich diet.
Eating a healthy diet is only the first step toward avoiding hearing problems. Regular exercise is a key factor in good health and longevity, but it also helps people maintain good balance—which reduces the risk of vertigo and serious falls. Quitting smoking and losing weight can also help your ears by lowering your blood pressure, making it less likely that you will suffer tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
Foods That Support Healthy Hearing
There are many nutrients that can increase hearing health, and some of these can improve declining hearing in some patients. If you are struggling with a hearing problem or want to prevent your symptoms from getting worse, consider incorporating the following foods and vitamins into your diet:
- Vitamin A. Vitamin A is often celebrated for its role in improving vision, but it can also benefit your other senses. Studies have suggested that patients over fifty who take Vitamin A supplements may cut the risk of moderate to severe hearing loss in half—and are boosting their immune systems in the process. This vitamin is found in carrots, but also in dark green and leafy vegetables (including broccoli and spinach), and orange fruits and vegetables (such as sweet potatoes, apricots, and pumpkin).
- Vitamin D. Many people who take Vitamin D supplements to strengthen their bones may not realize that they are also giving their hearing an added layer of protection. Vitamin D deficiency can cause bones to become porous, including the bones in the middle ear. As these bones weaken, patients may suffer hearing loss, cochlear disorders, and even deafness. Getting an extra boost of vitamin D from fish, eggs, and dairy products can slow and even reverse some hearing deficiencies caused by bone loss.
- Zinc. Tired of that buzzing or ringing sound in your ears? You may be able to lessen these symptoms by adding a daily zinc supplement. Zinc can be found naturally in seafood (especially oysters), dark chocolate, mushrooms, eggs, nuts, and pumpkin seeds.
- Resveratrol. If this antioxidant sounds familiar, it’s probably because it’s one of the easiest to take: high levels are abundant in dark chocolate and red wine. In addition to promoting a healthy heart, resveratrol has been shown to decrease inflammation, fight free radicals, and help your body recover from loud noise exposure.
- Antioxidants. Many other antioxidants play a role in reducing the risk of hearing loss by destroying cancer-causing free radicals that build up in the tissues of your body. These free radicals can cause nerve damage, destroying the auditory nerve in your ears. Foods such as spinach, asparagus, blueberries, broccoli, beans, and nuts are noted sources of antioxidants.
- N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC). NAC does not occur naturally in foods; instead, your body creates it from a combination of amino acids. NAC reduces oxidative stress on the body, particularly after exercise and loud noise exposure. People who eat foods high in cysteine (such as poultry and yogurt) can help their bodies make NAC, or NAC can be taken in its complete form as a supplement to reduce noise-related hearing loss.
- Omega-3s. You may have heard someone describe fish as “brain food,” and for good reason. Fish such as salmon, tuna, and even sardines are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fats are a boon for the circulatory system, reducing inflammation and helping prevent heart disease. Omega-3s strengthen blood vessels throughout the body, including the ears—protecting the healthy transmission of sounds. If you can’t stomach fish, these fats are widely available as a supplement.
- Vitamin B. Vitamins B12, B6, and B9 (also called folic acid) all help regulate normal growth of red blood cells, which are vital to helping the body control levels of homocysteine. Increased homocysteine in the blood leads to heart problems and high blood pressure, leading to tinnitus symptoms. B vitamins are usually found in animal products, such as meat, fish, poultry, milk, and eggs.
- Manganese and magnesium. These minerals are particularly useful in protecting against noise-induced hearing loss, supporting health of the brain and nerves and strengthening connective tissues in the ear. Manganese is found in nuts, brown rice, tofu, kale, and eggplant, while magnesium abounds in bananas, broccoli, potatoes, and dairy products.
If you have been suffering from hearing loss symptoms, we can help determine the best course of treatment for you. Call us at 866-517-4415 to schedule a hearing test at one of our Florida offices today!