You already know what you eat impacts numerous aspects of your health, but did you know what you eat may play a crucial role in how well you hear as you get older? Your diet provides the building blocks for your general wellbeing, as well as the fuel to keep your body's systems functioning correctly.

So, is there a specific diet you can eat to better your hearing or even prevent hearing loss? Not exactly, but there are foods you can eat that will help you maintain your hearing health down the road.

The relationship between hearing loss and high blood pressure

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is one of the major risk factors for heart disease and strokes – but it can also contribute to hearing loss. This is because high blood pressure will result in blood pumping through so quickly that the artery wall lining becomes damaged.

This results in fatty plaque build-up and can have implications on every system in your body, as well as your ears. When blood vessels in your ears are damaged, the structure is compromised.

 What is the connection between hearing loss and heart health?

A study conducted by Brigham and Women's Hospital came to the conclusion that women who reported eating healthier diets had a lower rate of hearing loss in comparison to those with a less healthy diet. This study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 2019, measured 3,135 women's hearing and again three years later. The women who reported having recommended healthy diets were 25% less likely to develop hearing loss at higher frequencies. 

The findings suggest that while hearing loss can occur due to old aging, it can be less severe with the right foods. Eating a healthy diet might help mitigate risk.

Which diets promote hearing health?

A healthy diet is essential for everybody, but it impacts your auditory system in many different ways. While you should always consult your physician prior to changing your diet, the following are thought to have positive impacts on your hearing health:

  • The AMED diet, known as the Alternate Mediterranean Diet: This is a diet based on plenty of vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts, legumes and olive oil. Fish is encouraged, and a moderate amount of alcohol is allowed. 
  • The DASH diet: Short for the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. This encourages low-fat dairy, lean meats, fish, vegetables, fruits and nuts. It limits sugar fat and sodium. 
  • The AHEI-2010, or the Alternative Healthy Eating Index diet: This focuses on whole grains, fruits and vegetables but limits salt, sugar and animal fats. 

Why would your diet affect your hearing?

There is a handful of reasons why this may be. However, the majority of it relates to our cardiac health. As a healthy diet is linked to a lower risk of heart disease and conditions that may damage the veins and arteries like diabetes, ensuring that our diet encourages healthy blood flow to every part of our body, including our ears, is vital for optimum health, as well as our hearing. 

In addition, the inner ear can be especially sensitive to changes in the body, such as blood pressure levels, inflammation and changes in oxygen. A healthy diet can be a vital source of nutrients and antioxidants that can prevent oxidative stress, which can be linked to cell damage.

Fruits and vegetables provide many of these essential antioxidants, so it would be beneficial to have these in your diet. Having the right vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, folic acid, potassium and vitamin D, can help for overall health and potentially protect your hearing.

What if you already have a healthy diet?

Having a healthy diet is something we all should consider especially as we get older but experiencing any form of hearing loss is not just due to insufficient nutrients. Hearing loss is something that can be linked with cognitive decline, which can have an impact on our mental health. If you are concerned that you are experiencing hearing loss, despite living a healthy lifestyle, it is vital for you to get a hearing test. 
Booking an appointment with an audiologist to conduct a wide variety of hearing tests can point you in the right direction to ensure that every aspect of your life is healthy. If you want to learn more, get in touch with Adirondack Audiology by calling 800-273-9536.