top of page
  • nick0032

How a Heart-Healthy Diet Supports Better Hearing

A common saying is “you are what you eat” but have you ever thought about what that really means? For us, it means that the foods you eat directly support your whole body from your brain, bones, joints, muscles and even your ears. More and more research uncovers the importance of minerals and vitamins in unprocessed foods for your overall health, your energy levels, and your mood. Now we are discovering how essential a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and whole grains is for your hearing health as well.

How The Food You Choose Affects Your Ears

The heart is the center of the body because it acts like a pump, sending blood throughout every single part of our body including our ears. While we collect sound with our ears, hearing happens in the brain. This is where we process speech and identify sounds. Sound is delivered to the brain via tiny hairlike cells in the inner ear called stereocilia. Stereocilia transform audio waves into electrical impulses which can be read by the brain. When damage occurs to these cells it causes hearing loss which is irreversible.

While hearing damage of this nature can occur from exposure to loud noises, certain medications, environmental toxins, impact to the head or changes to our ears as we age, one driving force for hearing health is heart health. When we struggle with conditions of the heart, such as cardiovascular disease or other chronic health issues which limit the supply of blood to our ears, such as diabetes or hypertension, the stereocilia are more prone to damage caused by any of the previously named causes of hearing damage.

The Link Between Diet and Your Ears

To better understand and collect solid evidence around the connection between diet choices and hearing health, researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts examined how diet affects hearing. This 2019 study analyzed the eating habits of over 3,000 women to understand how it affected their hearing over time. At the start of the study every participant’s hearing was tested with a follow up test after three years, along with a self-reported account of the woman’s general dietary choices. The data showed that women who ate a heart healthy diet were 25% less likely to develop a hearing loss!

What Should You Be Eating?

What exactly is a heart healthy diet? The study was able to identify three diets which seemed to be the most supportive for heart health as well as hearing healthy eating. This included:

  • AMED (alternate Mediterranean diet): Based on the diet of people surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, this diet is rich and full of vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, and legumes, with plenty of olive oil and fish.

  • DASH (the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension): This diet limits salt sugar and fat intake while promoting the importance of fruits and vegetables, and lean meat.

  • AHEI-2010 (the 2010 Alternative Healthy Eating Index): A diet very similar to DASH, this diet prioritizes vegetables and fruits, while urging the avoidance of sugars, sodium, and animal fat.

Vitamins and Minerals

As plants grow, they absorb minerals and vitamins from the soil. As we consume these plants or animals which have consumed these plants our bodies reap the benefits. Certain vitamins and minerals in particular support healthier hearing. This includes:

  • Magnesium, which helps to protect our hearing by regulating blood pressure. Foods rich in magnesium include nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, and whole grains.

  • Potassium helps control the amount of liquid in the cells and helps regulate blood pressure, which in turn supports the cells of the inner ear. Foods rich in potassium include spinach, tomatoes, yogurt, potatoes and bananas.

  • Folic acid reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke by aiding in the development of healthy new cells. A healthy supply of folate in your diet via asparagus, beans, lentils, and organ meats can help improve circulation throughout the body.

Do You Have Hearing Loss?

Do you think you have hearing loss? You may not even know it. Regardless of your diet, it’s a good idea to schedule a regular checkup every couple of years to monitor your hearing health. It’s essential to your overall health, so don’t hesitate to contact us today to set up your next visit.

1 view0 comments
bottom of page