A Healthy Diet for Healthy Hearing

Although hearing loss is usually associated with aging, people of any age can suffer hearing damage due to trauma or constant overexposure to loud noises as well. Children, parents and grandparents can all be affected by hearing loss for some of the same reasons.  But new research shows that simple, inexpensive lifestyle changes that benefit the whole body also help preserve hearing – and can even offset the effects of loud, ear-damaging noise.  A healthy diet rich in foods that nourish the sensitive hearing organs is one of the most effective strategies for preventing hearing loss for all members of the family.

Everyone knows that a diet full of processed, preservative filled foods, fats and sugars harms the body in many ways. These foods promote obesity and encourage inflammation as well as the production of free radicals that break down cells. The same processes that cause this kind of reaction in the body overall also lead to hearing loss as the body’s defenses diminish with age. Rising levels of free radicals can damage the cochlea, the delicate inner-ear mechanisms that channel sounds we hear into signals the brain can process.  Loud noises can also traumatize the inner ear, causing symptoms ranging from temporary deafness to ringing in the ears.

Yellow, orange and even red-colored vegetables, which include carrots, squash and sweet potatoes, are rich in carotenoids and vitamins A and C, potent free radical fighters that boost the immune system and encourage the growth of healthy cells.  According to a recent study reported by Real Age, those who consumed a higher than average amount of these foods reduced their risks of hearing loss by 47%, compared to those with a low intake of vegetables.

Foods rich in vitamin E also fight inflammation and support the immune system overall, which keeps the ears healthy as well.  Nuts such as almonds and walnuts, heart-healthy oils and foods such as avocados provide significant amounts of vitamin E along with other essential vitamins and minerals such as potassium, magnesium and zinc.  The anti-inflammatory properties of these foods help to prevent cell damage in the inner ear that impairs the transmission of signals to the brain.

Along with vitamin E, Omega-3 fatty acids also protect the ears.  Found in foods such as fish, nuts and oils including olive, grape seed and flax, the Omega 3s reduce inflammation in the body and promote healing of inner-ear cells, leading to a 42-percent drop in age-related hearing loss among participants in the Real Age study.

Magnesium also helps keep the ears healthy.  Found in nuts, fruits including bananas, apricots and avocados, peas and beans and whole grains, this mineral not only supports the body’s antioxidant functions, but it can also help to protect against the temporary hearing loss caused by sudden loud noises or ongoing exposure to higher decibel levels.

Although dietary sources of hearing healthy vitamins and minerals is the best bet, studies also show that supplements of the essential antioxidants vitamins A, C and E can also have a protective function, particularly when consumed before exposure to higher noise levels.  Recent research at the University of Michigan suggests that this combination of vitamins and minerals can benefit anyone who must work or live in noisy environments – and even those who don’t.

Hearing loss is a major problem these says, as mentioned above affecting not only adults and elders but even children do. If you or another family member currently are affected by hearing loss the use of a hearing aid may be the right choice for you.  Hearing aids amplify the surrounding sounds and allow you to hear them better and more clearly.  The old advice to eat your veggies (and other healthy foods) might also be one of the easiest ways to preserve hearing for life.

There are myriads of ways to maintain healthy hearing. Protecting your ears from continued hazardous noise exposure and keeping ear infections at bay are certainly fundamental. However, a healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercise and a balanced diet can do its fair share to prevent or delay hearing loss.

Your friends at “Socially Fit”

*Article Submitted By: John O’Connor

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