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A healthy diet is linked to every aspect of your entire health. Your food choices each day affect your health, how you feel today, tomorrow, and in the future. Combined with physical activity, your diet can help you to reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer and promote your overall physical and mental health. Now researchers are finding a link between eating a healthy diet and your hearing health.
How blood pressure and heart health affect hearing
Heart disease is linked to or causes numerous health issues, including hearing loss. One study suggests that low-frequency hearing loss may be able to predict cardiovascular health. High blood pressure can also be a contributing factor to developing hearing loss, since the inner ear is sensitive to blood flow. High blood pressure damages blood vessels and increases the risk of plaque buildup in the arteries, making it harder for blood to flow throughout the body. In other words, inadequate blood flow and nerve damage in the inner ear may lead to irreversible hearing loss.
A 22-year study
Now a recent study suggests that keeping up with a healthy diet may reduce the risk of acquired hearing loss. In this study, investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital recruited 3,135 women and surveyed them about their dietary habits and if they had developed hearing loss between 2012-2018. They used three diets as a calculator of hearing health including the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) and Alternate Mediterranean (AMED) diets and the Alternate Healthy Eating Index (AHEI-2010).
Lead author Sharon Curhan, MD, a physician and epidemiologist in the Brigham’s Channing Division of Network Medicine states “The benefits of adherence to healthful dietary patterns have been associated with numerous positive health outcomes and eating a healthy diet may also help reduce the risk of hearing loss.”
Three Diets of Health
DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The DASH diet is a lifelong approach to healthy eating that’s designed to help treat or prevent high blood pressure that encourages the reduction of sodium in your diet and eat a variety of foods rich in nutrients that help lower blood pressure, such as potassium, calcium and magnesium.
The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating based on the traditional cuisine of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The main components of Mediterranean diet include daily consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and healthy fats, weekly intake of fish, poultry, beans and eggs, moderate portions of dairy products and a limited intake of red meat.
In 1995, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) created the Healthy Eating Index (HEI), which rated adherence to the 1995 U.S. Dietary Guidelines
Healthy Eating Linked to Better Hearing
Using over 20 years of dietary intake information that was collected every four years beginning in 1991, the researchers investigated how closely participants’ long-term diets resembled some well-established and currently recommended dietary patterns, such as the DASH diet or the Mediterranean diet. People who followed these dietary patterns have been connected with a number of important health outcomes, including lower risk of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, stroke and healthy aging. The team found that the odds of a decline in mid-frequency hearing sensitivities were almost 30 percent lower among those whose diets most closely resembled these healthful dietary patterns, compared with individuals whose diets least resembled a healthful pattern of eating. There are a variety of ways to prevent heart disease and cut your risk for hearing loss. Eating healthy and incorporating moderate exercise into your daily life can drastically improve your health. Include more fish in your diet: Salmon, mackerel, and herring are high in the omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce high blood pressure and prevent plaque buildup, so you can decrease your overall risk of hearing loss.
Hearing Aid Associates
Eating healthy is a great way to prevent hearing loss, something most of us just can’t afford. Untreated hearing loss can affect your work, your relationships, your mental and your physical health. The sooner you treat hearing loss the better. To find out about healthier tips to maintain healthy hearing contact us at Hearing Aid Associates. We can help you find all the best ways to hear healthy into your future.