There’s a reason for the saying, “you are what you eat,” especially since food affects your overall health, including your hearing health. For example, the popular and healthy Mediterranean diet, along with DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), can help slow down age-related hearing loss, also known as presbycusis, due to the beneficial nutrients that help with fighting against oxidative (cell) damage, healthier heart and blood vessel function (endothelial), lowers blood pressure and inflammation, and promotes better blood lipids.
There are a multitude of ways to maintain and promote healthy hearing. Having a healthy lifestyle that incorporates a healthy diet and exercise, along with taking the right supplements, can help prevent or delay hearing loss. Researched backed supplements that help with keeping your ears healthy include:
1. Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and can help protect against damage to the inner ear. Sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fish oil, flaxseed oil, and chia seeds.
2. Magnesium: Magnesium is important for the proper functioning of the nervous system, including the auditory system. Research suggests that magnesium supplementation may help protect against noise-induced hearing loss. Good sources of magnesium include leafy green vegetables, nuts, and whole grains.
3. Vitamin D: Vitamin D is important for the health of the bones and tissues in the ear. Studies have shown that people with low levels of vitamin D are more likely to have hearing loss. Vitamin D can be obtained from exposure to sunlight, fortified foods, and supplements.
4. Zinc: Zinc is important for the functioning of the immune system, and research suggests that it may also be important for hearing health. Zinc supplementation has been shown to improve hearing in people with age-related hearing loss. Good sources of zinc include oysters, beef, and pumpkin seeds.
5. N-acetylcysteine (NAC): NAC is an antioxidant that can help protect against oxidative damage to the inner ear. Studies have shown that NAC supplementation can help protect against noise-induced hearing loss. NAC can be obtained from most protein-rich foods with supplements.
It’s important to note that supplements should be used in conjunction with other healthy habits, such as protecting your ears from loud noises and maintaining a balanced diet. As always, it’s best to speak with your healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen.