For a long time, hearing health and hearing loss have been viewed as straightforward issues: avoid regular exposure to loud noises to save your hearing, and when hearing loss does occur, such as in advanced age, treat it with the use of hearing aids that amplify the sound around the patient.
But what if there are other things you can be doing to help to save your hearing? Over the past couple of years, more research has come out on the impacts of a healthy diet on hearing health, and while no definitive answers are available yet, it certainly seems that eating a healthy and well-balanced diet can promote hearing health, among other things. If you think about it, this intuitively makes sense: your diet presents the building blocks of your body, and there’s no reason why your hearing apparatus should be excluded from this equation.
Focus on Minerals
While vitamins are the heros in most healthy diets, evidence points to the fact that it may actually be their inorganic counterparts, minerals, that have the strongest link to hearing health.
Potassium is one such mineral, which plays a big role in controlling the levels of various fluids in the body, not least of them being the fluid in the inner ear. Some doctors think that age-related hearing loss may actually be caused by the natural decrease in levels of potassium that happens as we age.
To get more potassium in your diet, focus on:
- Fruit, like bananas, oranges, cantaloupe, honeydew, apricots, grapefruit
- Dried fruits, like as prunes, raisins, and dates, are also high in potassium)
- Cooked spinach and broccoli
- Potatoes and sweet potatoes
Folic acid is another key mineral, and at least two studies have shown that with shrinking levels of folic acid in old age, taking a folic acid supplement can actually slow down hearing loss.
To get more folic acid in your diet, focus on:
- Leafy green vegetables, such as spinach
- Citrus fruits, such as orange juice
- Whole grains and cereals
Magnesium, believe it or not, has been shown (in combination with Vitamins A, C, and E) to give people some resistance to noise-related hearing loss. And, as you know if you’ve read our post on urban noise pollution, more of us are exposed to loud levels of noise than we assume.
To get more magnesium in your diet, focus on:
- Dark chocolate
- Nuts and legumes
- Whole grains
- Fatty fish
- Leafy greens like kale, spinach, and collard greens
Thankfully, if you’re mindful of your diet, the same foods you would eat for overall health happen to check the boxes for hearing health as well!