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Hearing loss can have devastating consequences in both your personal and work life. Not only can it lead to social isolation and feelings of depression, but also fewer job and educational opportunities because of impaired communication. Many factors can cause hearing problems, including aging, heredity, exposure to loud noise, certain medications like chemotherapy drugs, and some diseases, such as meningitis.
Knowing these factors can help you take the necessary measures to protect your ears and improve your hearing health. Fortunately, there are many natural things you can do to improve your hearing before seeking professional intervention, and one of them is eating the right diet. Eating foods rich in vitamins and minerals has been shown to improve hearing health. However, it’s crucial to work closely with an audiologist from a reputable hearing clinic like HearCanada, who can provide reliable advice. Here are a few foods that can help improve your hearing naturally:
1. Folic Acid
The first type of food that can help improve your hearing health is a food rich in folate and folic acid. Increased folic acid intake has been shown to significantly reduce your risk of getting age-related hearing loss. That’s mainly because folic acid promotes better blood circulation into the ear. Improved blood circulation helps maintain the healthy growth and functioning of hair cells in the inner ear. It also boosts your hearing cells’ energy production and promotes new cell growth in your inner ear.
Foods rich in folic acid to incorporate into your diet include broccoli, leafy greens, and beans. Other excellent sources of folate include chickpeas, kidney beans, spinach, and kale. Broccoli is not only rich in folic acid, but it also contains other essential nutrients for improved hearing, like fiber, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K. Adding foods rich in folic acid to your diet can help reduce damage to your ear tissues and naturally improve your hearing.
Besides folate, magnesium-rich foods can also help improve your hearing and protect you from noise-induced hearing loss. Magnesium acts as a barrier for protecting your inner ear hair cells from the free radicals produced by loud noises while also supporting nerve functioning. Low magnesium has been shown to cause blood vessels in the inner ear to shrink, resulting in oxygen deprivation. Moreover, numerous studies show patients treated with magnesium and Vitamins A, C, and E to be better protected from the effects of high noise levels. Foods that contain high amounts of magnesium include tomatoes, avocados, spinach, whole grains, potatoes, and bananas.
You may also want to add zinc-rich foods to your diet to promote healthy ears and hearing. Zinc promotes healthy cell growth and protects your inner ear hair cells. It also helps boost your immune system and protect your ear from developing infections that could cause hearing problems. Zinc deficiency is often one of the main causes of age-related hearing loss and most ear infections. It’s critically important to increase your daily zinc intake if you want to boost your hearing health.
Great sources of zinc include lentils, almonds, oysters, split peas, cashews, dark-meat chicken, and dried beans. You can also snack on dark chocolate to acquire the zinc you need to protect your hearing. Eating these foods can help your body get the zinc you need to improve your hearing and your overall well-being.
Numerous studies show a high potassium intake causes improved hearing health. Potassium is an important mineral for regulating the amount of fluid in the inner ear and expanding blood vessels for improved circulation. This is crucial since, as you age, the potassium levels in your body tend to drop, leading to hearing loss. Potassium is also responsible for regulating the production of Glutamate, a neurotransmitter that often contributes to noise-induced hearing loss. Additionally, it plays a huge role in converting sound into signals for your brain to interpret.
Regular intake of potassium-rich foods can help maintain a healthy level of this mineral in your body, which is vital for fighting age-related hearing loss and better ear functioning. Excellent sources of potassium to add to your diet include bananas, black beans, potatoes, raisins, milk, tomatoes, oranges, and spinach.
5. Omega-3 fatty acids
Fish is one of the best sources of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that your body needs to stay healthy and prevent hearing loss. Fish also contains high amounts of Vitamin D, which plays a role in strengthening the bones in your ear. This helps prevent developing severe ear issues, like otosclerosis and osteopenia, which often cause permanent hearing loss.
Eating foods rich in omega-3 helps boost your brain function, which can lead to better relaying of sound signals from your ear to the brain. It also promotes and boosts blood circulation in your inner ear, which can positively impact your hearing. Apart from eating fish like sardines, salmon, and tuna, omega-3 fatty acids can also be found in chia seeds, soybean oil, walnuts, fish oil supplements, and flaxseeds.
6. Vitamins B, C, and E
Eating whole grains can provide your body with Vitamin B, which is crucial for optimizing oxygen use in hair cells, promoting circulation and, most importantly, regulating fluid levels in your inner ear. Apart from whole grains, you can also get Vitamin B from leafy vegetables like spinach, legumes, and fruits.
On top of Vitamin B, you may also want to increase your intake of foods rich in Vitamin C and E to improve your hearing ability. These vitamins are antioxidants that protect your body, including your ear, from damage. Not only do they protect your body tissue, but they also prevent damage to your inner ear hair cells and maintain your hearing ability. Great sources of Vitamins C and E include citrus fruits like oranges, sunflower oil, almonds, and peanut butter.
What you eat can significantly impact your mental and physical health, including your hearing. Adding the foods above to your diet can improve your ear health and boost your hearing ability. Alongside a healthy diet, make sure you take proper care of your ears by not exposing yourself to loud noises and removing excess ear wax. It’s also advisable to visit a hearing specialist for a hearing test and further diagnosis whenever you’re experiencing symptoms of hearing loss so that you can get the best treatment.