Happy New Year! Did you make New Year’s resolutions this year? If so, you might be one of the many people who made a resolution to eat healthier. In fact, year after year, eating healthier is one of the most popular resolutions in the United States.
You may have made your resolution to eat healthier for a variety of reasons. Maybe you are trying to maintain a healthy weight, or you want to lose weight in order to reach a healthy weight. Perhaps you have realized that you eat a lot of highly processed foods or fast food, and you want to break that habit.
Or maybe you want to eat healthier so you can prevent a variety of diseases that have been linked to a poor diet, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, cancer, and stroke. Most people are well aware that their diet can affect their health.
But did you know that eating a healthy diet can also protect your hearing health? A recent study found that eating a healthy diet led to a lower risk of hearing loss. In the study, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital examined the relationship between diet and hearing loss over three years.
During those three years, audiologists measured changes in pure-tone thresholds in 19 test locations in the United States. The researchers also utilized 20 years of dietary intake information from the Nurses’ Health Study II Conservation of Hearing Study (CHEARS). They found that among female patients who ate a healthy diet, the odds of a decline in mid-frequency hearing sensitivities were almost 30 percent lower when compared with those who did not eat healthy diets. For higher frequency hearing, the odds were up to 25 percent lower among women with a healthy diet.
The lead author of the study, Sharon Curhan, MD, a physician and an epidemiologist in the Brigham’s Channing Division of Network Medicine, notes that the connection between diet and hearing ability decline included hearing frequencies that are crucial for understanding speech. Curhan and the research team were surprised by the number of women who experienced hearing loss during the three-year study period. The group of study participants was relatively young, with a mean age of 59 years. Many people do not think they need to have their hearing checked at that age, yet during the three-year study period, 19 percent of the participants experienced hearing loss in the low frequencies, 38 percent in the mid-frequencies, and almost 50 percent in the higher frequencies.
To lower your risk of hearing loss, it is recommended that you follow a healthy diet consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. It is also suggested that you limit your intake of sugar. Furthermore, certain foods contain vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that have been found to support healthy hearing. These foods include beans, leafy greens, avocado, whole grains, fish, nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, and fruits like bananas, melons, and oranges.
To learn more about how your diet can affect your hearing ability, or if you would like to schedule a hearing test for yourself or a loved one, we encourage you to contact our hearing specialist practice today. We look forward to taking care of you!