Eating well and staying active helps us stay healthy, but it also has some surprising benefits for our hearing. Here are eight tips for maintaining a healthy body and healthy hearing.
1. Watch your waistline
Sixty-two per cent of the UK population are classed as obese (having a body mass index of 25 or more) – and obesity has been shown to increase the risk of developing hearing problems. If you need to lose weight, make sure you don’t go on a crash diet: lose weight slowly and maintain it through a balanced diet.
2. Get some fresh air
You don’t have to run a marathon to get fit. All you need is the recommended two and a half hours of moderate exercise every week – a brisk walk with the dog is all it needs. Or you can get involved in your local sports club for a spot of swimming, cycling, or anything else that gets your blood flowing. You’ll soon feel more energetic, and regular exercise reduces the risk of hearing loss.
3. Drop the cigarettes
You don’t need us to explain that smoking isn’t very good for you. But what you might not realise is that smokers have a 15% greater chance of developing hearing loss than non-smokers.
4. Take control of your diabetes
If you have diabetes, you are twice as likely to develop hearing loss. Without appropriate action, untreated and uncontrolled diabetes can damage the nerves and blood supply in the ears, causing hearing loss.
5. Look for healthier fats
Not all fats are created equal. So-called good fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats) are better than the ‘bad fats’ – saturated fats – which can clog your arteries. There’s no need to banish bad fats altogether, but it’s worth keeping an eye on them. Swapping saturated fats for poly and monounsaturated fats helps improve blood flow to your ears, keeping your hearing in the best possible condition.
6. Get your B vitamins
Make sure you get your B vitamins by eating plenty of eggs, fish, dairy products, dark green leafy vegetables, peas, oranges, bread, nuts, pulses and any number of fortified products available from the supermarket (cereals and non-dairy milk alternatives are often good sources). A lack of B vitamins has been linked to high frequency hearing loss. Time to revamp your diet!
7. Up your intake of omega 3
Omega 3 fats – found in fish such as herring, sardines, salmon and mackerel, and in flaxseeds, chia seeds, linseeds and walnuts – are known to help prevent hearing loss. They’re also good for your heart and eyes.
8. Add antioxidants into the mix
Vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, selenium and copper all contain antioxidants that help protect ear cells from naturally occurring toxins. Eat more citrus fruits, nuts, seeds, eggs and shellfish to make sure you get plenty of the right vitamins and minerals.
While all good advice, nothing beats professional hearing care. So, if you think your hearing is starting to fade, make sure you contact the expert audiologists at The Hearing Care Partnership.
Arrange a free hearing assessment at your local store or book an appointment online.