Whenever a new year rolls around, many people in Topeka make a resolution to eat better. Not only will this help them shed a few pounds and lower their risks of certain diseases, it may also boost their hearing!
Eat Healthy for Better Hearing
There are plenty of reasons to choose a healthy, well-balanced diet. Nutritious foods can help boost your mental and physical health, adding years to your life. New research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston shows that the meals you eat can have a profound effect on your hearing, as well.
Scientists looked at 20 years’ worth of data for more than 3,100 female patients (average age: 59) to learn how diet might affect hearing health. Their results, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, showed that women who followed three of the most popular diets in the world were less likely to develop hearing loss.
The diets, all of which promote eating plant-based foods and healthy fats and avoiding processed foods and refined sugars, were:
- The Mediterranean Diet
- The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet
- The Alternate Healthy Index-2010 (AHEI-2010) diet
Health Benifits Not Just Limited to Hearing
Based on measurements of hearing thresholds taken over a three-year period, women who followed these diets benefited from a 30 percent reduction in mid-frequency hearing loss and a 25 percent reduction in high-frequency hearing loss — results that complement previous studies showing that these diets lead to lower rates of hypertension, diabetes and death. Another study, published in 2018, found that women on these diets were 30 percent less likely to develop moderate to severe hearing loss in contrast to their peers who did not follow any of the diets.
No single diet is more beneficial than the others at reducing hearing loss risk; all three will help. It’s believed that these diets improve blood circulation to the inner ear, as opposed to high-fat diets that clog blood vessels. Poor blood flow to the inner ear can starve the hair cells in the cochlea that convert sound into electrical impulses that are transmitted to the brain.
Hearing Loss is NOT Invevitable
There is a common misperception that hearing loss is an inevitable part of aging. Not true, according to the study’s lead author, Sharon Curhan, MD. “Our research focuses on identifying potentially modifiable risk factors — that is, things that we can change in our diet and lifestyle to prevent hearing loss or delay its progression.”
The results are no doubt promising, but experts urge that additional testing is needed on a more diverse population and demographic before we can say for certain that these popular diets will help everybody.
Still, eating healthy is always a smart resolution to make. For more information on ways to protect your hearing in 2020, give your Topeka audiologist a call.