It is no secret that our lifestyle and diet has a profound impact on our health. But it’s not just restricted to weight gain or conditions such as diabetes or cardiovascular ailments – what we choose to eat and do can affect our hearing too. Luckily, eating well for your hearing is simple, and it’s never too late to start.
1. Watch your weight
Higher body mass index (BMI) and larger waist measurements have been connected with many health problems. Studies have shown that obese people are more likely to have hearing problems than those who are fitter. Try to lose weight slowly and maintain it by adopting a balanced diet rich in nutrients, and exercise portion control.
2. Keep active
Taking part in regular activities can actually lower your risk of hearing loss. Experts recommend at least two and a half hours of moderately intense activity each week. This could include walking, swimming, cycling, dancing, or any other hobby or activity that may interest you.
3. Stop smoking
The ill effects of smoking have been well documented. A new study has shown that smokers have a 15% higher chance of hearing loss than non-smokers. So kick the habit and also reduce your exposure to passive smoking.
4. Control diabetes
Hearing loss is twice as common in adults with diabetes. Uncontrolled diabetes damages the tiny nerves and blood vessels in the ears, leading to hearing loss. Type 2 diabetes is in your hands, so keep your blood sugar in check as well as your blood pressure and weight.
5. Healthy fats
There have been many studies that show how polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are better than saturated fats, which clog your arteries and risk cardiovascular ailments. Switching to poly & monounsaturated fats keep your arteries healthy and also improve blood flow to your ears, thus keeping your hearing healthy.
6. A low GI diet
A diet high in sugar and GI (glycemic index) carbohydrates has a detrimental effect on your health, including your hearing. Cut down on added sugars, and replace refined carbs (white bread, pasta, cakes, biscuits etc.) with wholegrains that are low GI i.e. they contain more fibre and release energy at a slower rate.
7. Get your B vitamins
A lack of B vitamins, particularly B12 and folate, has been linked with high frequency hearing loss. Vitamin B12 is found in eggs, meat, fish dairy products and fortified breakfast cereals, while folate is in foods such as dark green leafy vegetables, peas, oranges, bread, nuts and pulses.
8. Oil-rich fish
The omega 3 fats found in oil-rich fish such as herring, sardines, salmon and mackerel, as well as helping your heart and eyes, can help prevent hearing loss. Less potent omega 3 is also in flaxseeds, chia seeds, linseeds and walnuts.
Antioxidants help to protect ear cells from damage by ‘free radicals’. Antioxidant vitamins and minerals include vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, selenium and copper. These are generally found in foods such as citrus fruit, nuts, seeds, meat, eggs and shellfish.
The bigger picture
Although this advice is not intended to replace conventional treatment for hearing loss, Leightons are dedicated to helping you take the best possible care of your hearing.