Can Diet Affect Hearing Loss?

If you’re beginning to notice signs of hearing loss, one of the first questions you may have is, “can diet affect hearing loss?” For a long time, there wasn’t really any conclusive evidence. However, in recent years there have been a number of studies published which would seem to support that diet can affect hearing loss. Below I am going to give a summary of these findings and a few takeaways so you can hopefully either prevent hearing loss or slow the progression of it. Before we begin, I have to give the dislaimer that the most effective way to prevent hearing loss is to avoid prolonged exposure to loud noise, as noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common types of hearing loss.

The first study we will look at is from 1999, and was published by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. This study examined the relationship between folate, B-12, and hearing loss across 55 healthy individuals. The outcome of the study showed that individuals with impaired hearing (compared to those with normal hearing) had 38% lower B-12 levels, and 31% lower folate levels. The conclusion of this of course is that poor vitamin B-12 and folate levels may be associated with hearing loss. You may want to boost your B-12 intake, so here is a list of the top ten foods with the highest B-12 content. In addition, here is a list of some of the healthiest foods that are high in folate. The correlation between B-12, folate, and hearing loss is well-documented, and was also the outcome of the Blue Mountains Hearing Study which looked at nearly 3,000 invididuals and found the same correlation.

In a separate study reported on by the Journal of Nutrition, it was proven that diets high in sugar and carbohydrates negatively affect hearing. Yet another study showed that diets high in cholesterol can also contribute to age-related hearing loss. Here is a list of the foods with the highest carbohydrates (so you can reduce your intake), and here is a list of foods with the highest cholesterol.

So it’s clear that diet and hearing loss are related, and the studies I outlined above only scratch the surface of the research that has been done on the subject. However, along the same lines of diet, is the issue of medications. Often times, people can be taking medications that are detrimental to their hearing aid may not even know it. For this reason, it’s important to discuss any ototoxic medications you may be using with your doctor, and look for alternatives.

If you’d like a free phone consultation with a licensed hearing provider, please feel free to call us at 800-731-6794.

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