Hearing loss and nutrition: Good news for women
In the United States, hearing loss is the third most common health condition in older adults1. However, hearing loss can mean more than just trouble following a conversation. Hearing loss has been linked to many other health issues, including depression2, tinnitus and diminished mental acuity. That's why it is important to take hearing health seriously.
New studies show that addressing hearing loss may start with the basics for women. In June 2018, the Journal of Nutrition published research 3 showing that following a healthy diet is linked to lower incidence of hearing loss in women. In fact, three diets were evaluated for the ability to reduce the risk of hearing loss in some women.
Eating well has been on the forefront of healthy living for decades. A link between what we eat and how well we hear goes as far back as the 1950s 4, but this new research includes some guidance as to what individuals should eat to help prevent hearing loss.
Healthy eating for healthy hearing — choosing the right path
Potassium-rich foods like bananas and potatoes have long been linked with hearing health. For a richer diet, your wellness may improve with these guidelines:
- The Healthy Eating Index — U.S. government-advised, this diet has a scoring system to teach people about which foods promote healthy eating habits. Simply put, the focus is on eating more vegetables, avoiding sugary drinks and alcohol. Ultimately, it suggests that Americans eat a mixture of fruits, grains, dairy, protein and vegetables for a balanced plate.
- The Mediterranean Diet — Popular in France, Italy, Spain and Greece, this way of eating focuses on vegetables, fish and poultry, cheese and yogurt. It advises avoiding refined sugars and trans fats. In this case, "Mediterranean" does not mean cannoli, Nutella® and pasta.
- The DASH Diet — The DASH diet, which stands for "Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension," is designed to help prevent hypertension. It advocates a low-sodium diet, rich in fruits and vegetables. Meals may include whole grains, lean meats, fish and poultry, as well as nuts and beans.
Hearing loss in children linked to poor nutrition
Adults aren't the only ones at risk for hearing loss. A recent study of children in Asia5 found that young children who were malnourished had higher rates of hearing loss as they grew up.
Impacting more than your ears
Why address hearing loss? Because hearing health is linked to your overall wellness. If you can't hear well, you may disengage from people around you, as conversations can become more challenging. Hearing loss is also linked to tinnitus, the annoying ringing of the ears.
Protect your ears with noise-canceling headphones — and good nutrition
One of the best ways to prevent hearing loss is through protecting your ears from loud noise. While it would be ideal to always avoid loud noise, especially at dangerous levels, you can't prevent an unexpected sound, such as a car backfiring, jets taking off at an airport, or loud cheers if you attend a sporting event. You can be smart about using hearing protection when you know you will be exposed to noise. Use noise-canceling headphones when you use a lawn mower, or other ear protection when you can. Now you can do even more to help reduce your risk for hearing loss. You can make good choices regarding nutrition.
Concerned about your hearing? Contact HearingLife.
Are you concerned about hearing loss? HearingLife offers free hearing assessments* so you can learn if it is time to address hearing loss. To make an appointment, contact HearingLife today or call (866) 997-7706 and get started.
*The purpose of this hearing assessment and/or demonstration is for hearing wellness to determine if the patient(s) may benefit from using hearing aids. Products demonstrated may differ from products sold. Test conclusion may not be a medical diagnosis. The use of any hearing aid may not fully restore normal hearing and does not prevent future hearing loss. Testing is to evaluate your hearing wellness, which may include selling and fitting hearing aids. Hearing instruments may not meet the needs of all hearing-impaired individuals.
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