Does Nutrition Affect Hearing?

Hearing loss can often be a common and natural part of aging. However, the onset of hearing loss can also have many other reasons such as poor nutritional status, poor circulation, chemical exposure, trauma, or viruses.

Hearing loss is usually split into two categories: conductive hearing loss and sensory hearing loss.

Conductive hearing loss and sensory neural hearing loss

Conductive hearing loss is a failure of sound waves to be normally carried through the ear canal or middle ear to the cochlea of the inner ear. Sensory neural hearing loss results when the sound waves are transmitted to the cochlea of the inner ear but the tiny hair cells that normally transform the waves into nerve impulses may be damaged or deteriorating, preventing the signal from the ear reaching the brain.

Irrespective of the type of hearing loss, consideration should always be given to the nutritional status of the individual. A correct nutritional balance is integral to maintaining overall health and well-being.

Maintain Ear Health

Vitamin B12 and folate are an important place to start when considering nutrients that are important for maintaining ear health and avoiding hearing loss. And it is no coincidence that most elderly peoples diets are low in B12 and folate.

Now, the reason vitamin B12 and foliate are important in avoiding or reducing hearing loss is that they help to regulate homocysteine levels in your body. This is an important chemical to regulate in your body as high levels of homocysteine, among other things can result in free radical damage to the inner ear as well as a reduction of blood flow to the ear structures, which will result in less oxygen and nutrients available for cells.

Importance of B12

Vitamin B12 and folate are also important for hearing loss, as your body requires them as a part of the insulation that covers your nerve fibers, and allows them to conduct impulses properly.

Now, supplementing with these vitamins may be an option, or you could be more vigilant in including them in your daily food. Eat foods such as brewers yeast, rice germ, beef or lamb liver, kidney beans, mung beans, soybeans, asparagus, lentils, walnuts, spinach, trout, salmon, tuna, eggs and various cheeses.

Importance of Calcium

Another essential nutrient for maintaining hearing health and avoiding hearing loss is calcium. Since conduction of sound waves through the ear rely on the vibration of tiny bones in the middle ear, then maintaining the integrity of these bones is vital to avoiding hearing loss.

Just like any bone in your body needs calcium for strength so do the bones in your ear. Good sources of calcium in the diet are kelp, collard, kale, almonds, brewers yeast, parsley, brazil nuts, tofu, buttermilk, yogurt, walnuts, broccoli and whole milk.

Importance of EFA’s

Other nutrients to consider taking on a daily basis to assist in reducing or avoiding hearing loss are essential fatty acids (EFA’s), commonly found in fish oil, flaxseed oil and other various nut and seed oils.

EFA’s may help to reduce the build-up of wax in the ear. Also ensuring you are eating a wide variety of antioxidants in your diet will help protect you against free radical-induced hearing loss.

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Hearing Loss and Low Folate Levels. URL link. Accesed November 2017.

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