Feed Your Ears: Nutrition and Hearing

family eating lunch at picnic table

Hearing loss is the third most common health problem in the USA. While many people opt for preventive measures, your diet can also directly affect your hearing as you age. You may have heard the saying “you are what you eat” – an accurate statement that highlights the fact that the nutrients your body receives help maintain a healthy mind and body, including your hearing health. Several studies have shown that poor nutrition and hearing loss go hand-in-hand. So, if you want to promote healthy hearing as you age, you need the proper nutrition. Check out this list of nutrients you should be feeding your ears with.

Vitamin B12

Deficiency in vitamin B12 can lead to hearing loss. Vitamin B12 helps to lower homocysteine levels to keep the blood cells healthy. To ensure that your diet is rich in vitamin B12, ensure that you have some of these foods in your daily diet – salmon, trout, haddock, eggs, dairy, liver, clams, nori, and spirulina. 

Vitamin D

While vitamin D may not be the easiest nutrient to get from your diet, it plays a massive role in promoting good ear and hearing health. This vitamin can aid in preventing hearing loss while strengthening the tiny bones in the inner ear. Vitamin D-rich foods include lichens, mushrooms, egg yolk, cheese, yogurt, milk, cod liver oil, tuna, and sardines. You can also receive vitamin D from a healthy amount of sun exposure. 

Vitamins A and C

Along with magnesium, vitamins A and C are pretty effective in halting the production of free radicals that cause damage to the delicate hair cells in the inner part of the ear. Foods rich in these vitamins include broccoli, kiwi, strawberries, sweet potatoes, green and red peppers, cantaloupe, and carrots.

Folic acid

Some studies have suggested that most people who experience age-related hearing loss had low folic acid levels. Experts believe that, just like vitamin B12, the body uses folic acid to absorb homocysteine, linked to hearing loss and tinnitus. That means that you should ensure that you have enough folic acid in your daily diet. Some rich sources of folic acid include lentils, beans, seeds, squash, bell peppers, avocado, asparagus, parsley, bok choy, spinach, okra, broccoli, cereal, liver, enriched bread, etc. 

Zinc 

Zinc plays a huge role in boosting the body’s immune system, healing wounds, preventing ear infections, and even treating tinnitus. The more deficient you are in zinc, the more risk you are at developing hearing loss issues as you get older. To enjoy the rich benefits of zinc to your ears and hearing health, make sure you add some of these foods to your daily diet – oysters, lentils, split peas, almonds, peanuts, cashew, pork, dark-eat chicken, beef, and dark chocolate. 

Potassium

As you age, naturally, the amount of fluid in your body and body tissue drops, contributing to experiencing hearing loss. Potassium is responsible for regulating the amount of fluid in your body in a way that ensures that it does not drop to unhealthy levels. So, make sure that you always have enough potassium-rich foods in your daily diet. Some sources include flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, cauliflower, purslane, Brussels sprouts, tofu, trout, sardines, salmon, tuna, and olive oil. 

Magnesium

Researchers concluded that magnesium could help protect the ears from hearing loss caused by loud noises. They drew this conclusion from the fact that magnesium plays a huge role in fighting off free radicals emitted during loud noises. The following foods are magnesium-rich sources – bananas, broccoli, spinach, artichokes, tomatoes, pumpkin seeds, almonds, Brazilian nuts, potatoes, and brown rice. 

Omega-3

People who consume more fish have been found to have over 40% lower chances of experiencing age-related hearing loss issues. Omega -3 is known to strengthen the blood vessels located in the ear’s sensory system. Foods rich in omega-3 include the following – bananas, tomatoes, melons, oranges, apricots, raisins, spinach, low-fat milk, lima beans, yogurt, potatoes, as well as any other rich-potassium food. 

Foods to avoid or consume less of

While it is essential to enrich your daily diet with sources of nutrients that promote ear and hearing health, you should be careful to avoid or consume less of certain foods. For example, the following foods are primarily associated with adverse effects on the body when consumed in large quantities. 

  • Margarine and vegetable oil
  • Sodium
  • High-fat meats
  • Canola oil
  • Refined carbohydrates 

To learn more about the Audiology & Hearing Center of Tampa, kindly contact us on these phone numbers: Westchase: 813-962-1888, Tampa Palms: 813-374-3036.