When you think ‘hearing loss’, you don’t really stop to consider nutrition and how diet can actually impact our hearing. There is still a long road ahead when it comes to research and the relationship between nutrition and hearing, but it is important to know that there is actually a connection. As we age, so does our hearing, which makes it all the more crucial to pay close attention to our eating habits to help prevent a further decline in hearing loss.
At Home Care Assistance, your nutrition, health and overall wellbeing is important to us. Our Balanced Care Method™, an evidence-based program, is built on studies that demonstrate that only one-third of our longevity is based on genetics and two-thirds on lifestyle factors within our control. Our Care Professionals are trained in the Method, offering the first senior care solution with an emphasis on balance and longevity, as well as knowing what foods are the most beneficial, depending on your health, habits and goals. By working with specific lifestyle behaviours, Home Care Assistance Care Professionals work towards enhancing the lives of seniors, with a view to helping them live longer, happier, more balanced lives through healthy, nutritional choices.
Several studies over the years have shown that there is a definitive increase in hearing loss, especially age-related hearing loss (ARHL), due to a lack of essential micro-nutrients and antioxidants in our diet such as vitamin A, B, C, D and E, as well as zinc, magnesium, selenium, iron and iodine. Pair this with a diet high in carbohydrates, fat and cholesterol; and with a lower protein intake, you will find higher incidences of age-related hearing loss as a result. In addition to this, obesity and malnutrition have also been linked to diminished hearing status, which ties in with the gut microbiome, responsible for the absorption of nutrients in the body.
A well-balanced diet encompasses a variety of nutrient-dense foods to support optimal health. When it comes to the prevention of hearing loss, the following foods contain the essential vitamins needed, not only for our overall health and well-being, but also aid in the fight against hearing loss:
- Vitamin A, essential for vision and immune function, can be found in vibrant orange and green vegetables such as carrots and spinach.
- Foods like whole grains, lean meats and dairy products, are excellent sources of vitamin B, crucial for energy production and nerve function.
- Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, mandarins and lemons; strawberries and capsicum, offer a burst of vitamin C, bolstering the immune system.
- Vitamin D, vital for bone health, is naturally present in fatty fish and dairy products. Omega-3 fatty acids, found abundantly in sources like fish oil, play a pivotal role in promoting health, due to their remarkable antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils are rich in vitamin E, a potent antioxidant that safeguard cells from damage.
- Zinc, vital for immune function and wound healing, is abundant in seafood, lean meats and legumes.
- Magnesium, aiding in muscle and nerve function, is prevalent in leafy greens such as kale and broccoli, nuts and whole grains.
- Selenium, supporting metabolism and immunity, can be found in seafood, nuts as well as whole grains.
- Iron, crucial for oxygen transport, can be found in lean meat, beans and fortified cereals.
- Iodine, vital for thyroid function, is found in iodised salt and seafood.
Although age-related hearing loss cannot be cured, it can be prevented. Ongoing research offers valuable insights into potential preventive strategies. That said, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and a thriving microbiome, will stand us in good stead in the long run, in a bid to safeguard our hearing well into our old age.
Support of an in-home care agency like Home Care Assistance, can bring enormous benefit and comfort to your quality of life while living independently at home. Home Care Assistance has viable solutions when it comes to supporting independent living. For more information, get in touch with us.