A recently discovered benefit of a healthy diet for women is less change of hearing loss as you grow older. If you are experiencing some hearing loss now, there is no better time to contact the professionals at Hearing Consultants and get an evaluation and your hearing loss treated. Even a slight hearing loss should be treated and your hearing loss, if you’ve eaten healthy, will likely not be advancing to moderate to severe, according to a Harvard Medical School Study.
Hearing loss effects
More than 48 million people in the United States have some hearing loss. Untreated hearing loss diminishes a person’s ability to communicate which can lead to social isolation and even isolation within the family unit. Hearing loss has also been linked to decreases in work productivity, gradual loss of cognitive function and depression.
Study: Does Diet Affect Hearing Loss
Hearing loss was originally thought to be a natural and unavoidable effect of getting old. Dr. Sharon Curhan, the main author of the Harvard Medical School study, said study findings point to a healthy diet as one way to reduce hearing loss – especially for women.
Researchers tracked more than 80,000 women for 26 years and found those whose general diets scored high as healthy were 47% less likely to experience moderate to severe hearing loss than women whose diets had low “healthy” scores. Past studies have found some correlation between hearing health and vitamins, minerals and fatty acids, but Curhan and her team studied overall diet for 81,800 women between the ages of 25 and 42 who enrolled in the study beginning in 1989.
Listen to your parents – eat your vegetables
Researchers kept their focus on hearing assessments done in 2009 or 2013 and on dietary questionnaires participants completed every two years during the duration of the study. The women’s diets were rated using three healthy-eating diets – a Mediterranean diet, a diet designed to reduce hypertension and a diet rated as an alternative healthy eating index diet.
Each of the three diets had guidelines that allowed for scoring of diet quality. So, you would get points for eating vegetables, whole grains, fruit, nuts and legumes and you would be eating less processed meat, sugar and salts. Two of the three diets had some specific foods or food areas emphasized. The Mediterranean diet was high in fish and olive oil and the diet to reduce hypertension concentrated on low sodium and high fiber.
Women who eat according to the Mediterranean diet and the diet to cut hypertension were about 30% less likely to experience moderate to severe hearing loss. The original group of 80,000 or so was reduced to a subgroup of about 33,000 to specifically study women who had medical conditions that could cause hearing loss. Of that subgroup, about 47% experienced less hearing loss than expected when they scored high on healthy eating.
The initial study was not directly designed to study diet and hearing loss, but study authors were encouraged by the data concerning diet and hearing loss. The study authors noted that a healthy diet can be responsible for protecting and preserving many physical mechanisms including blood vessel health. Certain nutrients can help reduce inflammation and can directly protect auditory nerves.
Promote auditory health
Dr. Christopher Spancovich, an auditory specialist not directly involved in the study did give some oversight remarks concerning diet and hearing loss. Good strong vascular health, resulting from a healthy diet, helps the blood flow to the inner ear. The blood flow keeps the small hairs in the ear needed to process sounds in good condition which equates to continued better hearing.
Spancovich said more study is needed, but it follows that a healthy diet promoting good blood flow is important for continued good auditory health.
Get regular check-ups
It is important to eat healthy and get regular medical check-ups. You should make a regular hearing test part of your general health plan. Hearing Consultants can do an assessment to set a hearing health baseline and help you stay on the road to healthy hearing. Unfortunately, many Americans experiencing hearing loss wait between three and five years before getting it treated. Think of what they have missed!