A Healthy Diet May Stave Off Hearing Loss

A Healthy Diet May Stave Off Hearing Loss

In Hearing Health, Hearing Loss by Janiece Dickenson, HIS

Janiece Dickenson, HIS
Latest posts by Janiece Dickenson, HIS (see all)

If there is one factor uniting the many health concerns that face Americans, it might be nutrition. We know from personal experience how good we can feel when we are eating well and how poor eating habits bring on lethargy and discomfort. The connection between a healthy diet and other health outcomes is borne out in study after study. 

Not only does a healthy diet promote cardiovascular health and bone density, but it can prevent conditions such as diabetes, liver failure, and limited mobility. With such a preponderance of evidence, you might think that healthy eating would come naturally to all of us, but it is not so simple. The need to eat healthy foods comes up against our insatiable desires for fats, sweets, and salts, and when offered that delectable combination, it is so difficult to say no. In addition to the many conditions that are associated with diet, one more can be added to the list: hearing loss. 

The latest research reveals that a healthy diet is connected to preventing hearing loss, and the connection seems to be a strong one. What might be driving this relationship? How can we use what we know about diet and hearing loss to explain their connection? As one of the lifestyle habits most closely related to health, you might find that what you eat also helps you hear longer in life. 


Hearing and Nutrition

In the case of diet and hearing loss, it is most likely not a direct relationship that is being observed. When you pursue a healthy diet, you are better able to clear the pathway in the cardiovascular system for blood to flow to the ears. When oxygenated blood reaches the ears in the necessary amount, you are better able to protect the tiny hairlike organelles called stereocilia that populate the cochlea of the inner ear. 

On the other hand, without the necessary oxygen they need to function, these tiny cell clusters are subject to damage, bending, and breaking under the pressure of sound. Under this model, healthy eating doesn’t directly cause your ears to function better, but it makes your heart and blood vessels better able to deliver oxygenated blood. 

Another model of the connection between diet and hearing has to do with anti-inflammatory substances. It is possible that a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables is also full of nutrition that reduces or prevents the inflammation of tissues, including those of the inner ear. 


Dietary Approaches

Even if you are on board with these recent findings about the connection between nutrition and hearing loss, you might not know where to start. With so much information out there, much of it competing, regarding the proper way to plan your meals, how are you supposed to make sense of it all? 

A couple diets have been the subject of research scrutiny, and they have held up very well under pressure. The first is called Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), and the second is the Alternative Mediterranean Diet (AMED). What they share in common is an emphasis on whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and plenty of water. 

What they prompt you to reduce are saturated fats, particularly found in red meat and butter, high sodium processed foods, and refined sugars. The differences are in the details. The DASH diet suggests relatively low fat consumption overall, while the AMED diet promotes healthy fats such as olive oil. The AMED diet emphasizes seafood and even allows a glass of red wine with dinner. 

In both diets, the possibilities for delicious and healthy eating abound, and you can suit these diets to your individual likes and dislikes. With such a tasty array of options, it is easy to get the nutrition you need in a way that is sustainable over the long term. 

Changing dietary habits can take time, but once you have transformed the way you eat, you might experience a range of health benefits that remind you how important this healthy diet is for your general wellbeing. Not only can you save your life through preventing a cardiovascular event, but you can also lower your risk of developing hearing loss as the years go by. 

An annual hearing test is also an important part of your overall health and well-being! With an annual hearing test, you can monitor your hearing abilities. Contact us today to learn more!