We regularly share brain boosting recipes and yoga tips for revitalising a weary brain, but what is the connection between diet, exercise and hearing loss?
The old saying “you are what you eat” does have some merit, but do you also hear what you eat? According to some studies, there does appear to be a connection between the quality of your food and hearing loss. Exercise matters too, specifically in relation to cognitive ability and how the brain processes sound.
Douglas L.Beck AuD released his thoughts on the connection between food and hearing, looking at the obesity problem in America and a report in the International Journal of Audiology (2013, Vol 52, p. 369-376). The journal reports
a significant relationship between dietary nutrient intake and susceptibility to acquired hearing loss is emerging.
There are a lot of other studies looking at the relationship between diet and hearing loss, many of them limited by human variables. The most reliable studies, whilst not wholly dependable, do suggest that a healthier diet can slow or delay age-related hearing loss.
The studies look at many food types, including various minerals, vitamins, meats and processed foods. It seems palpable to note that the people found to have the healthiest hearing were those with the more natural and healthy diets, including plenty of fresh vegetables and non-processed foods.
Omega 3 fats and vitamin D generally found in fish have shown in studies to strengthen blood vessels, probably contributing to improving and repairing the ears sensory system.
Zinc is an important mineral for boosting the immune system, also contributing to cell growth and helping to fight off ear infections. Nuts and dark chocolate work great as key ingredients containing Zinc, along with oats, quinoa, raisins, dried cranberries and coconut flakes.
Some studies show folic acid supplements may help hearing loss. That might be because the body uses folic acid to metabolize homocysteine, an inflammatory compound that reduces circulation. Good circulation is an important component in keeping the hair cells of the inner ear healthy and working properly.
We use yoga and mindfulness as part of our treatment plans at Cubex because this helps to focus the mind and reduce stress. Hearing conditions such as tinnitus are irreversible, but can be managed with breathing and meditation exercises, aiming to focus the brain and reduce the over-all level of stress.
We don’t need to explain why exercise is good for almost every part of the body – this research is well-known. Exercise contributes to a healthy mind, immune system, nervous system, metabolism and over-all sense of well-being. People should find an exercise they enjoy rather than focusing on the specific benefits of each type, making it more likely that this will become part of daily life and contribute to sense of enjoyment.
Something we consider at Cubex as healthcare professionals is the whole person and not just their hearing. This includes diet, lifestyle, exercise, emotional wellbeing and more.
If you would like to speak with an audiologist about your hearing, diet, exercise regime or anything else which you think may affect your hearing health, get in touch.Contact Cubex