Whether you are already starting to experience hearing loss or you want to prevent it as much as possible, you probably know a few basic guidelines on how to support your hearing health. For example, you can avoid very loud noises and keep the volume of your music and television at safe levels.
Did you know that the foods you eat can also support your hearing health? Now, we aren’t saying there is a magic food that cures or prevents hearing loss. However, there are foods that are high in important vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that support healthy hearing. Here’s what you should eat to support hearing health:
- Folate/Folic Acid
Folate (its natural form) or folic acid (its synthetic form) have been found to support healthy hearing and reduce the risk of age-related hearing loss. You can find folate in many foods, such as broccoli, spinach, asparagus, chickpeas, liver, and lentils. Folate is also found in many fortified grain products.
If you aren’t getting enough folate (you will want to consult a physician to determine this), you can take a supplement such as a vitamin B9 supplement or vitamin B complex.
This one is amazing – a study found that people who were pre-treated with magnesium and were then exposed to noisy environments were protected from noise-related hearing loss. Researchers believe this may be due to magnesium’s ability to fight the effects of free radicals emitted during loud sounds, which protects the delicate hair cells in your inner ear. A lack of magnesium can also cause the blood vessels in the inner ear to shrink, which in turn deprives it of adequate oxygen.
To get a good dose of magnesium in your diet, eat fruits and vegetables like potatoes, spinach, bananas, artichokes, broccoli, and tomatoes. Other magnesium-rich foods include brown rice, peanut butter, almonds, and black beans.
Zinc is known to support the immune system and to help your body with cell growth and wound healing. It may be able to help your body fight off ear infections, and some studies have even found that zinc may be effective in treating tinnitus in individuals with normal hearing.
You can find zinc in many common foods, such as almonds, cashews, peanuts, beans, beef, pork, oysters, split peas, lentils, and dark chocolate. If you are interested in a zinc supplement, we recommend that you consult your physician first.
Low potassium levels have been linked to age-related hearing loss. The fluid in the inner ear, which translates sounds into electrical impulses for the brain to interpret, is dependent on a rich supply of potassium.
Foods rich in potassium include bananas, apricots, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, lima beans, raisins, oranges, melons, milk, and yogurt.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
In one study, participants who ate two servings of food rich in omega 3s were significantly less likely to experience age-related hearing loss. It is believed that omega-3 fatty acids help maintain blood flow to the ears.
You probably know that fish is high in omega 3s. Other foods with omega-3 fatty acids include chia seeds, flaxseed, soybeans, and walnuts.
- Vitamins C & E
These vitamins contain antioxidants, which prevent damage to healthy cells, including those connected to hearing. If you want to increase your intake of vitamins C and E, you should eat citrus fruits, peanut butter, almonds, and sunflower oil. You may also want to ask your physician about taking a vitamin supplement.
Supporting hearing health can be as simple as adding these important vitamins and minerals to your diet. To learn more about how you can support healthy hearing, we encourage you to contact our audiology practice today.