professional chef wearing a hearing aid speaking with a kitchen helper
professional chef wearing a hearing aid speaking with a kitchen helper

Hearing Health & Nutrition: Foods for Healthy Hearing

Healthy Ears, Healthy Years

Any doctor or healthcare professional would agree that living a healthy lifestyle is critical for a longer and overall happier life in general. Getting enough exercise, having regular wellness checks and, of course, eating a balanced diet, are key components to a healthy lifestyle.

While we, as hearing care providers, will always advocate for our patients’ overall health and well-being, we are particularly interested in helping our patients make healthy decisions that can impact their hearing. Your body is connected in so many ways, and things like gut health and nutrition have more of an impact on your ears than you might think.

As you may know from your doctor already, different foods are “healthy” for you for different reasons. For example, probiotics and fiber are healthy for your gut health, and vitamin D is important for your immune system. In the same way, there are a few foods that can be extremely beneficial to your ears and hearing health.

Read on to learn about four foods you can add to your diet that contain essential vitamins and nutrients that can help keep your hearing as healthy as can be.

1. Salmon

Salmon (or really any fish) is an excellent source of magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which are essential nutrients for healthy hearing.

Magnesium is important for both nerve function and improved blood flow, and it can also strengthen the hairs in your inner ears, helping to protect your eardrum from noise-induced hearing loss specifically.

Omega-3s have an array of benefits for your hearing. They are anti-inflammatory and anti-aging, which may help lessen the effects of hearing loss caused by age. Omega-3s can also improve brain function in general, which may help your ears and your brain communicate better with each other.

2. Bananas

Like salmon, bananas are also a good source of magnesium in your diet, but they also contain lots of potassium and folate — two more key nutrients for hearing health.

Potassium helps your ears because of how it supports the fluid levels in your ears. As fluid levels drop, you may be at higher risk for hearing loss, but potassium can help regulate those levels, lessening that risk.

Folate (or folic acid) helps improve circulation in your body, which is crucial for hearing health. Since folates increase circulation and promote cell growth, they can help keep the important cells in your ears healthy and functional and reduce the effects of hearing loss.

3. Spinach

You’ve probably heard before that spinach is a superfood, and we, your local hearing care professionals, would have to agree! Spinach not only contains significant amounts of magnesium, potassium, and omega-3s, but it’s also a great source of zinc — another important nutrient for your ears.

Zinc’s benefits to your hearing are two-fold: it promotes cell growth, leading to healthier cells in your complex hearing system, and it helps build a healthy immune system, warding off infection that may cause tinnitus or hearing loss itself.

4. Flax Seeds

Flax seeds are well-known in the nutrition world for being excellent for your gut, but did you know they are also good for your ears? Flax seeds contain both magnesium and omega-3s, which we’ve already shown to be good for nerve function, improved blood flow and reduced inflammation.

While simply adding some new hearing-healthy foods to your diet can’t completely prevent hearing loss or reverse hearing loss you may already experience, considering nutrition’s connection to your ears is a great piece to the puzzle of your overall hearing health.

Mixed with exercise, protecting your ears from noise and regular hearing tests, eating a balanced, hearing-healthy diet can reduce the effects of hearing loss or maybe play a small part in preventing it altogether.

If you’ve started noticing changes in your hearing and you’re ready to seek help, your local Beltone office can help you take control of your hearing health, starting with a hearing assessment and exam.

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