You will see a lot of mixed ideas as to whether your diet can affect your hearing. However, taking measures to try and preserve your hearing is a great idea and will be beneficial in the long run, whether that’s keeping your television to a lower level or wearing ear plugs at your favourite concert. The short of it is, your diet can affect your overall health, which can in turn impair your hearing. Health factors such as blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar intake impact your hearing amongst many other things.
The link between high blood pressure has been linked to loss of hearing as well as increasing the risk of many cardiovascular conditions. Worryingly, high blood pressure has next to no symptoms meaning approximately one in four people in the UK have the condition unknowingly. To decrease your risk of high blood pressure, some simple lifestyle changes will be hugely beneficial. A high sodium diet or drinking more alcohol than your recommended weekly allowance are two major factors in high blood pressure. Try not to add salt to your food, and check the label of your alcoholic beverages to keep your alcohol units in check. Stress has also been proven to increase blood pressure, so taking regular you-time to unwind doing something you enjoy – going for a walk is a great way to relax, and regular exercise is also beneficial to decreasing your blood pressure.
There has recently been more research in to the link between high cholesterol and hearing loss, proving that those with high cholesterol are more likely to experience hearing impairment in their lifetime. High cholesterol can reduce blood circulation to the inner ear, which can cause long term damage. However, it has also been proven that the effects can be reversed if you manage to lower your cholesterol levels with some simple changes to your diet. Less high fat dairy products and red meat are two food groups to cut down on if you are looking at reducing your cholesterol levels, swap them for vegetarian meals or white meat like chicken and fish with low fat dairy products. Stopping smoking is also invaluable to helping you live longer- both your blood pressure and cholesterol will thank you for it. Follow the link to get support beating a nicotine addiction.
Hearing loss is twice as common in diabetics than in people without diabetes. Persistently high blood glucose levels decrease the flow of oxygen to your ears, which will cause nerve damage. In the UK alone, over three million people are diagnosed with diabetes- which means a lot of people are at risk of hearing impairment. Diabetes can be controlled with medication and diet, but the best thing to save your health and hearing it to prevent it entirely. Diabetes can be inherited, so get regular checks from your GP if you think you are at a higher risk. Avoid processed carbohydrates like white bread and pasta, as well as artificially sweetened foods such as confectionary.
Eat for your ears
That’s enough about what to avoid- but what should you eat to help preserve your hearing?
Found in nuts and oily fish, having a diet rich in omega 3 has been found to prevent hearing loss. Incorporating two portions of fish or nuts in to your diet twice a week will work wonders for your overall health as well as your hearing.
A deficiency in B-vitamins has been proven to aid high frequency hearing loss. To help you hear every whistle and birdsong in to your later years, keep citrus fruits, dark leafy greens and a variety of dairy products part of your diet.
Antioxidants will benefit your health in numerous ways, and will boost your immune system to protect you against many conditions that can induce hearing loss as an outcome. Keeping your ear cells protected from ‘free radicals’, it’s worth snacking on antioxidant-laden berries such as blueberries every once in a while.
The benefits of taking care of your overall health is a varied diet and regular exercise is well known. Living longer, carrying less weight and less likely to develop health conditions are all positives in looking after yourself – as well as maintaining good hearing quality for years to come.