More than 350 million people around the world suffer from moderate to severe hearing loss. The sources of such loss include loud noises, infectious diseases, aging, and the use of certain drugs. Not surprisingly, it has been estimated that about 50 percent of these hearing-loss cases were avoidable, per articles.mercola.com. Hearing-protective devices could have been worn, and in some cases dietary habits over time could have made a difference. Nutritional imbalances and deficiencies increasingly are believed to be a factor in hearing loss. Turning it around, eating the right kind of food can help alleviate hearing problems to some degree, or so we hear. Tinnitus, for example, a condition in which the sufferer hears a persistent or almost-chronic ringing in the ears, could be improved by the regular consumption of vitamin B-9, otherwise known as folate. Age-related loss might also be reversible through the right diet, nutrients, vitamins, and supplements.
Hearing Loss Often IgnoredAs common as hearing loss and other ear health issues are, many cases of hearing loss go undiagnosed and/or untreated. Per raysahelian.com, moderate or greater hearing loss that is left untreated can affect interpersonal communication and contribute to isolation and depression, and might also be a factor in reduced cognition. Note, too: diabetics are at higher risk of developing hearing loss than those who don't have diabetes, a possible sign that elevated blood-sugar levels might be linked to hearing loss.
Vitamins and Supplements to Help with HearingResearch as to how diet – namely nutrients, vitamins, and supplements – affects hearing loss or injury is still sketchy. More research and studies are needed. There is, however, enough information presently available to help someone suffering from hearing loss – or looking to avoid it – to make changes to their diet with the health of their ears and hearing at stake. Following are some foods, vitamins, and supplements to put on your list, subject to a discussion with your physician, of course, just to be safe:
- Carotenoids. Included in this grouping is astaxanthin – which has been described as a supernutrient for its ability to enhance health in so many ways, from boosting athletic performance to aiding with ear/hearing thanks to its powerful antioxidant properties. Vitamin A also is a carotenoid.
- Fish oils. Believed to be effective in preventing or at least slowing down the development of hearing loss related to aging.
- Folate/Folic acid. Folate, also known as vitamin B-9, is found naturally in foods, while folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, per healthline.com.
- Magnesium. Bananas, potatoes, artichokes, and broccoli are among the foods rich in magnesium, per audicus.com, the consumption of which has been demonstrated to provide protection from noise-induced hearing loss.
- Potassium. Potassium is a mineral that is believed to help regulate the fluid balance of minerals inside the inner ear.
- Vitamin B-12. A water-soluble vitamin key to neurological health. A B12 deficiency ups your risk of tinnitus; increasing your intake can relieve tinnitus symptoms.
- Vitamin C. As an antioxidant, it is believed to be helpful in preventing damage to the cochlea's hair cells. C also plays a role in bolstering the immune system, which in turn can be more effective in fighting off infections, such as those inside the middle ear, per healthyhearing.com. It can also help prevent noise-induced hearing loss.
- Vitamin E. It helps with circulation in the body, to include the inner ear's hair cells, which rely on good circulation to be in the best of health.
- Vitamin D. Essential for good bone health in our bodies, to include the tiny bones that reside in the middle ear.
- Zinc. Like vitamin B12, zinc can be useful in dealing with or preventing tinnitus. Research has also shown zinc to be helpful in treating a sudden, unexplained loss of hearing.