It is a common mistake that people assume hearing loss is an unavoidable part of growing older. While age related hearing loss is common among seniors it is not inevitable. There are a number of things you can do through out your life to prevent the onset of age related hearing loss including using proper ear protection when appropriate and making sure your headphones are kept to a reasonable volume. Now researchers are saying that what you eat can have a significant affect on how you hear later in life
A Study in Health
Using questionnaire responses from roughly 71,000 women, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that those who consumed a healthy diet regularly had a lower risk of hearing loss. The women, who participated in the study and were questioned every four years about their eating habits for more than 20 years. They were also asked about their hearing and if they had developed a moderate or severe hearing problem.
A Healthy Diet
Women whose diets most closely resembled the Alternate Mediterranean diet (AMED) or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) dietary patterns had an approximately 30 percent lower risk of moderate or worse hearing loss, compared with women whose diets least resembled these dietary patterns. The Mediterranean diet includes extra virgin olive oil, whole and minimally processed grains, legumes, vegetables, with potatoes excluded, fruits, nuts, fish and moderate intake of wine or alcohol. The DASH diet is high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, lean meats, fish, poultry, low fat dairy, and low in sodium, sweets and saturated fats.
Hypertension and Hearing Loss
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a major risk factor for stroke and heart disease, and can also contribute to hearing loss. The link between high blood pressure and impaired hearing is rather clear. When your blood pressure is high, the blood pushes through your arteries very fast, which can damage the lining of artery walls, allowing fatty plaque to build up. This damage and plaque build-up isn’t centered in one area of the body but affects your entire body including your fragile irreplaceable ears. When the blood vessels in your ears are damaged your hearing can easily become damaged.
Healthy choices may help slow progression of hearing loss
There are so many reasons to avoid eating foods that will lead to high blood pressure and heart disease and now hearing loss is one of them. Findings of the hearing-related information collected suggest that the reduced risk may be even greater than 30 percent.
“Eating well contributes to overall good health, and it may also be helpful in reducing the risk of hearing loss,” said Sharon Curhan, MD, ScM, a physician and who led the study. “Findings from our research illustrate that there may be things that we can change in our diet and lifestyle to prevent hearing loss or delay its progression,” said Curhan. “The benefits of a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, staying physically active, not smoking, and limiting the use of over-the-counter analgesics have been demonstrated for numerous positive health outcomes. Eating a healthy diet and following these healthy lifestyle recommendations may also be helpful in reducing the risk of hearing loss.”
Eat for the Future
The negative affects of hearing loss are so severe it is important to do what we can now to avoid having to treat hearing loss in the future. If left untreated, hearing loss can have other negative social and health impacts n that go beyond the hearing impairment itself and include reduced quality of life and well being. Potential health impacts from hearing loss can include headaches, muscle tension, and increased stress and blood pressure levels. Some studies have linked untreated hearing loss to a break down of important relationships, decrease earning power, cause depression, fatigue, social withdrawal and impaired memory. The good news is now we know that eating healthy can help prepare us to protect our hearing.
Even if you are living with hearing loss, it’s never too late to start eating healthy. If you suspect that you have hearing loss it’s best to treat it as soon as possible. Contact us at Focus Hearing to set up a hearing test. We can help you find the best solutions to your hearing needs and help you hear healthy into the future.