A Healthy Diet Can Lower the Risk of Hearing Loss

In hearing health, hearing loss by Laurie Duffy, M.S.

Laurie Duffy, M.S.
Latest posts by Laurie Duffy, M.S. (see all)

It is common to have hearing loss as we age but not necessarily inevitable. If you could go back and wear ear protection at every concert and sporting event you attended, and never exposed yourself to loud noise that would be a dream. Fortunately, there are ways to preserve the hearing you still have simply by being conscience about what food you choose to eat. Not only does a healthy diet affect everything from heart health, blood pressure and mood, it can also affect your hearing. A new study, reveals that eating well can protect your ears and hearing from continued hearing loss.

A study in healthy eating

Researchers from Brigham And Women’s Hospital say that women who closely followed healthy diets, such as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet or the Alternate Mediterranean diet (AMED), were much less likely to suffer from hearing loss.

“A common perception is that hearing loss is an inevitable part of the aging process. However, our research focuses on identifying potentially modifiable risk factors — that is, things that we can change in our diet and lifestyle to prevent hearing loss or delay its progression,” says lead author Sharon Curhan, MD, a physician and epidemiologist in the Brigham’s Channing Division of Network Medicine.

The method

To come to the conclusion of the importance of a healthy diet the researchers established 19 testing locations all over the United States and measured changes in participating women’s hearing abilities over the course of three years.  Using over 20 years of dietary information that had been collected on the participants, the research team looked to see how closely the women’s diets resembled healthy diets. The researchers discovered that women who closely followed a healthy diet had an almost 30% lower chance of experiencing a decline in their hearing.

Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet blends the basics of healthy eating with the traditional flavors and cooking methods of the Mediterranean. Interest in this diet with in the U.S. began in the 1960s when it was observed that coronary heart disease caused fewer deaths in Mediterranean countries, such as Greece and Italy, than in the U.S. and northern Europe. Subsequent studies found that the Mediterranean diet is associated with reduced risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The foundation of the Mediterranean diet is vegetables, fruits, herbs, nuts, beans and whole grains. Meals are built around these plant-based foods with moderate amounts of dairy, poultry, eggs and seafood as a center to the Mediterranean Diet. In contrast, red meat is eaten only occasionally to reduce the amount of in taken fat. It is recommended to replace the fat in your diet with olive oil.

The DASH diet

DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The DASH diet is a lifelong approach to healthy eating that’s designed to help treat or prevent high blood pressure. The DASH diet plan was developed to lower blood pressure without having to rely on blood pressure medication. The DASH diet promotes the reduction of sodium in your diet and encourages you to eat a variety of foods, which are rich in nutrients that help lower blood pressure, such as potassium, calcium and magnesium. Specialists claim that by following the DASH diet, you may be able to reduce your blood pressure by a few points in as little as two weeks. Because the DASH diet is a healthy way of eating, it offers health benefits besides just lowering blood pressure. The DASH diet has also been said to prevent osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

A healthy lifestyle of hearing well

A healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle of regular exercise will keep your heart healthy and your blood pressure down which ultimately helps your hearing. When your blood pressure is high or your heart has to work overtime, your blood vessels become damaged. This damage isn’t centered in one area of the body – your entire body is connected and therefore affected, including your ears. And when the blood vessels in your ears are damaged – and have a fatty plaque buildup – your hearing could be impaired.

If you think you have hearing loss now is always the best time to start dealing with it so you can get on the all the things you really love to do. Contact us at HearCare Rhode Island to set up an appointment for a hearing test so we can help you stay on the road to a healthy and happy lifestyle.