You probably don’t spend too much time thinking about the wonders of your ears. Until, of course, hearing is impaired.
Ears are pretty impressive. They allow you to distinguish between the sound of a saxophone and a flute without even thinking. They tell you if a sound is near or far and allow you to interact with the world around you.
From time to time, of course, hearing can become temporarily impaired. It might be the result of ear wax buildup, fluid in the ear, or an ear infection. Hearing impairment is also a part of aging. But there is some evidence you could delay hearing loss with food choices.
For example, studies suggest a clear connection between inflammatory diets and hearing loss. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition showed that diets high in sugar and refined carbohydrates is detrimental to hearing. There is also evidence that high-cholesterol diets can speed up age-related hearing loss.
Nutrient deficiencies may also play a role. Some research suggests that deficiencies in B12 and folic acid can impair hearing by nearly 40%. Conversely, studies exist showing that increasing intake of these nutrients may protect hearing by up to 20%.
These connections between diet and hearing are likely linked to inflammation. Antioxidant and nutrient-rich can limit inflammation to protect your ears and other organs, while sugars and refined grains can promote inflammation.
If you think your hearing is suffering, you may need an ear test. If you’re not sure, there are some things to look out for. You’re likely experiencing more than just a temporary issue if you:
- Consistently need to turn up the volume on the television or radio.
- Shy away from social situations or introductions because you’re worried about hearing/understanding people.
- Feel confused or “out of it” at restaurants.
- Regularly ask people to repeat themselves.
- Miss phone calls or fail to understand the person on the other end of the line.
- People regularly accuse you of not listening.
Depending on your age and current state of hearing, you can work on preventing hearing loss or start examining auditory health. Adopting a healthier diet is always recommended, but a doctor’s visit might be required for some.