When you were growing up, how was your diet? Would you consider it healthy and balanced or would you say you were undernourished? Now, how is your hearing today? Are you constantly asking others to repeat themselves or do you not have an issue hearing? If hearing is an issue for you today, then you may want to blame your diet growing up.
A new study uncovered that young adults with poor hearing were more likely to be undernourished as preschool children. In fact, hearing loss was doubled among this group of individuals compared to more well-nourished individuals.
The study analyzed the relationship between hearing and nourishment among over 2,200 young adults from Nepal. The findings suggest that nutrition interventions among younger children could help stave off hearing loss in their older years.
Hearing loss is the fourth leading cause of disability worldwide, with 80 percent of individuals being from middle to lower class countries.
Principal investigator Keith West Jr. explained, “Our findings should help elevate hearing loss as a still-neglected public health burden, and one that nutrition interventions in early childhood might help prevent.”
The researchers tested the hearing from over 2,200 young adults between 2006 and 2008. These participants were part of a nutrition trial between 1989 and 1991.
The results of the study found that young adults with poor childhood nutrition had nearly double the risk of hearing loss. The reason for this is that development of the auditory system is crucial in a person’s younger years, and without proper nutrition, this development can become stunted or delayed. This can begin as early as the fetal stage if the mother is undernourished.
West added, “Our findings are not only important for low-resource areas of Nepal, but also for much of South Asia. The study site in Nepal is representative of much of the Gangetic region of South Asia. There are over 160 million undernourished children in this region, putting them at high risk for a range of health and developmental problems. We now have evidence that addressing this nutritional burden might also prevent hearing loss later in life.”
Previous studies have linked nutritional deficiencies to hearing loss. This is another reason to stress the importance of balanced and healthy meals to ensure you get a variety of nutrients to help support bodily functions, including hearing.