Healthy Eating For Your Ears?

You’ve probably heard the phrase “you are what you eat.” While that may not be entirely true, the foods you consume can have a positive effect on your hearing. Studies indicate foods rich in certain nutrients can help boost your hearing. In some cases, they may even help prevent or delay hearing loss.

Omega-3 fatty acids, typically found in fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines, contain anti-inflammatory properties that help strengthen the blood vessels in the inner ear, helping protect against hearing loss. Research shows that individuals who eat two or more servings of fish a week are 42% less likely to develop presbycusis (age-related hearing loss) compared with those who do not eat fish regularly.

Antioxidants are another excellent source of protection from hearing loss, particularly folic acid. They help reduce the number of damage-causing free radicals in your body, and ultimately help prevent hearing loss. Good sources of folic acid include leafy greens such as spinach and romaine lettuce, black-eyed peas, kidney beans and black beans, and nuts. Persons over the age of 50 with a folate deficiency have a 35% higher risk of hearing loss.

Vitamin B12 works similarly; like folic acid, it creates new red blood cells and improves the flow of blood to the ears. Foods high in B12 include lean meats, dairy and eggs. Clams, liver and fish are especially high in this nutrient. Vitamin C helps boost the immune system and is plentiful in citrus fruits and vegetables. Excellent choices include oranges, grapefruit and bell peppers. Vitamin E helps improve circulation and can be found in almonds, peanut butter and sunflower oil. Vitamin D keeps the bones and tissue in the inner ear healthy, preventing bone loss and otosclerosis; good sources are fish and milk.

Zinc is another nutrient that can help protect against age-related hearing loss. It can be found in dark chocolate and oysters, among other foods. Magnesium may prevent noise-induced hearing loss. Look for it in bananas, potatoes, artichokes and broccoli.

While there’s no guarantee that consuming these foods will keep you from developing hearing loss, including them as part of your diet will help improve your overall health regardless.

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Jody Vaynshtok

Jody is a California-licensed speech language pathologist with eight years of industry and clinical experience. She has worked with both adult and pediatric populations during her time at private practice, birth-to-three, and hospital facilities. She is experienced in the assessment and treatment of a variety of communication and cognitive disorders. In addition, Jody has a passion for working with adults looking to achieve clearer communication. Jody received her BS in Speech and Hearing Sciences and MS in Medical Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Washington. She was a part of the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford’s cleft and craniofacial clinic participating in the multidisciplinary assessment and treatment of children born with craniofacial abnormalities. She holds a staff position at UCSF and is the lead speech language pathologist for the department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery’s Hearing Loss Clinic. When she's not busy having fun with her clients Jody enjoys spending time with her husband, Anton, friends and family. And if she's not headed out somewhere fun for dinner, you might find her at Bar Method working out!