Best Foods for Hearing HealthPublished On: July 15, 2019
Over 37 million adults currently suffer from some form of hearing impairment or loss.
If you’re among them – or if you want to get proactive about protecting your hearing – then we know that you’re always looking for ways to improve your hearing health.
It’s no secret that taking precautions like wearing noise-cancelling headphones and using earplugs if you work in a loud space are important steps to take.
But did you know that making sure you’re eating a balanced, healthy diet can actually keep your hearing in good shape? While you can’t eat your way to a total hearing loss cure, many people don’t realize just how much eating certain foods can protect their hearing.
So, what kinds of foods should you be adding to your diet in order to boost your hearing health? Keep on reading this post when you’re ready to find out what you should eat.
The Best Vitamins and Minerals for Hearing Health
Before we get into specific foods your local hearing center might recommend you eat to keep your hearing in good shape, let’s first talk about the minerals and vitamins you need to include in your diet.
You can choose to take these vitamins in supplement form if you wish, or you can simply look for foods that have a high content of them. Either way, you need to make sure you’re getting enough of the vitamins and minerals listed below if you want to protect and maintain your hearing.
Many people aren’t aware that one of the major causes of hearing loss isn’t necessarily listening to loud music. Instead, it’s leaving ear infections untreated for too long. This sudden hearing loss is especially common if any kind of a virus gets in your ear’s cochlea since it’s the main organ responsible for your hearing.
Once you get an infection in your cochlea, it can be hard to treat. Even if you act quickly, depending on the severity of the infection, you may still be left with permanent hearing damage.
Though you should make an appointment at your local hearing clinic at the first sign of infection, making zinc a part of your diet is a smart way to ward off potential infections in the ear.
This is because zinc gives your body a natural boost to its immune system. Additionally, zinc works to encourage cell turnover, so infections can clear up quickly, without spreading.
Interestingly, zinc has also been found to be an effective treatment for tinnitus, or the sensation of ringing in the ears. If you want to add zinc-packed foods to your diet, reach for things like dark meat, oysters, and even almonds and peanuts.
Another vitamin you can take to improve your overall hearing health? Potassium. It’s best known for helping you to keep a healthy amount of fluid in your tissues and blood, and its an integral part of any diet.
A lack of potassium can lead to a condition known as Hypokalemia, which will leave you feeling exhausted, moody, and may even make it difficult to breathe. Additionally, a lack of potassium can also lead to serious hearing problems – because the fluid in your ears isn’t being properly regulated.
Especially as you get a bit older, the fluids in your ears (which are a major source of potassium) start to dwindle. Eventually, this leads to hearing loss, ringing in the ears, and other hearing problems.
Potassium actually helps your ears to process sound signals and works with your auditory nerves to help you to understand what’s being said to you. So, although you’ll certainly notice when you start to have trouble hearing, you may not realize that a lack of potassium is what’s responsible.
In addition to taking supplements which are packed with potassium, there are several potassium-rich foods that make a delicious addition to any diet. These include bananas, raisins, any type of melon, yogurt, and even spinach and potatoes.
Did you know that your inner ear is actually home to countless tiny hairs that act as a sort of protective layer?
These microscopic hairs might be small, but they do a lot of work. They guard against free radicals, which are often a consequence of loud and sudden noises.
This might not sound like a big deal at first. But, without enough magnesium in the ears, the size of the blood vessels inside of your ear actually become much smaller. The more they shrink, the less they’re able to get the oxygen they need.
Soon, you won’t just experience hearing loss. You may find that, when you do hear a loud noise, you deal with ringing in the ears for a much longer time than you did in the past. You might even begin to experience headaches which linger for hours.
In other words, it’s definitely not a pleasant experience. Interestingly, if you uptake your overall magnesium intake, you’ll help to make sure these microscope hairs stay strong. This is an important way to take care of your overall hearing health.
Wondering which foods you should eat in order to increase the amount of magnesium you’re getting? We suggest adding potatoes, broccoli, and lots of fruits (especially citrus fruits) to your diet.
You may also want to consider taking Vitamin A and Vitamin E supplements in addition to magnesium. They have been found to help protect the hairs in your inner ear.
You might be surprised to see folic acid on our list of foods that can protect and improve your audible hearing. But, what you might not realize is that having a lower than average level of folic acid in your body makes you much more likely to suffer from presbycusis.
Presbycusis is the gradual decline of your hearing which takes place over the course of your life. However, those that don’t get enough folic acid deal with hearing loss at a much more rapid and intense pace than those who have more balanced, healthy diets.
And once that hearing is gone? You know it can be difficult, sometimes even impossible, to get it back.
Folic acid works by helping to improve the overall levels of circulation in your ears. Again, this goes back to ensuring that those tiny hairs we mentioned earlier in this post stay healthy. It also fights against what’s called homocysteine, which has been known to lower your body’s overall levels of circulation.
So, what kinds of foods should you throw in your shopping cart if you want to increase your intake of folic acid? We suggest you look for things like whole grain cereals, asparagus, and even liver!
The Top Foods for Hearing Health
Now, you’re much more aware of the specific vitamins and minerals you should shop for when it comes to eating your way to better hearing health.
But sometimes, you just want to know which foods you should pick up to make sure your hearing stays in great shape. After all, reading every nutrition label in the store can be time-consuming.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the best – and most delicious – foods for better hearing. We’re willing to bet you might be surprised by some of the foods on this list.
Salmon is a superfood for a reason. This powerful fish is packed with healthy omega-three fatty acids.
They can help to keep your blood pressure levels within a healthy range and make sure your cholesterol levels stay in check, too. This means that you’ll be less likely to develop an ear infection. Interestingly, omega-threes can also prevent your ears from producing too much wax.
If salmon just isn’t your thing, don’t worry. There are plenty of other omega-three-rich foods you can try. Think things like flaxseed, soybeans, and even a tin of sardines!
If you suffer from tinnitus, or even a more serious balance disorder as is related to your hearing, we know that you want to know which foods will help you to improve your condition.
Look no further than the egg. The secret here is the egg’s high content of Vitamin B12.
If you currently have a B12 deficiency, (which is especially common for vegetarians) then you’re at a higher risk for developing hearing loss. In addition to adding eggs to your diet, there are lots of other places to get B12 from.
We suggest that you eat more dairy, enjoy a steak from time to time, and even up your intake of poultry. If you’re a vegetarian, then you absolutely need to start taking B12 supplements – or even injections – as part of your regular diet.
If you only eat one food in order to improve your hearing, then make it the potato. Potatoes contain several of the vitamins we’ve discussed in this post so far, especially zinc, potassium, and magnesium.
Plus, you can prepare them tons of different ways. Don’t be surprised if, in addition to experiencing an improvement in your hearing, you also start to notice that you feel better in general after adding more potatoes to your diet.
What Not to Eat for Healthy Hearing
If you want to keep your hearing in good shape, the foods you don’t eat are just as important as those that you do.
There are a few foods you need to either cut out of your diet completely or aim to eat less of, to keep your hearing healthy.
First of all, look out for foods which are rich in sodium. This can wreak havoc on your circulation, which can damage your inner ear and hearing in general.
While low-fat milk will help your hearing, we suggest that you enjoy whole and even 2% milk in moderation. Drinking too much of it may make you more likely to develop ringing in the ears and other hearing loss issues.
You should also stay away from meats which are high in fat and have a large number of preservatives in them. This isn’t great for your cholesterol – and high cholesterol can make the hearing loss you’re already experiencing even worse.
Aim to eat much fewer processed foods in general. It’s no secret that processed foods aren’t exactly wonderful for your health in general, but they can also make you more likely to deal with tinnitus.
Plus, they may even weaken your immune system, which means it will take your body longer than ever to recover from ear infections. You don’t want to end up with permanent hearing loss from a minor ear infection – so put down the processed cheese and the sugary snacks.
Finally, steer clear of vegetable oils whenever possible, and make the switch to healthier extra virgin olive oil. This is because other oils have way too high of a content of unhealthy Omega-six fatty acids.
Improve Your Hearing Health by Eating More of the Foods Listed Here
We hope this post has inspired you to clean up your diet and start taking a hard look at whether the foods you’re eating are helping or hurting your hearing.
Looking for more advice about how to improve your overall hearing health? Want to understand which hearing aids are the best option for you? Need to learn what to expect out of an appointment at a hearing clinic?
No matter what kind of hearing-related question you have, we want to make sure you get an answer to it. Keep checking back with our blog to make sure you’re up-to-date on everything you need to know about hearing health, hearing aids, and treatment plans for hearing loss.