Our hearing is more susceptible to damage than we can imagine. If we knew more about it, we wouldn’t be playing loud music through our headphones every day. While noise exposure is a common cause of hearing impairment, there are other factors that can contribute to it. Some of them are preventable, while others are just treatable.
About 15 percent of Americans over the age of 18 complain about hearing problems from different causes, like age-related hearing loss or autoimmune diseases, for instance. But is there anything we can do about them?
Fortunately, recent studies have found that certain vitamins are great for hearing health, and work to both prevent and improve hearing loss through diet and proper supplementation. But how so?
Vitamins ward off free radicals
Free radicals are atoms “without a pair” that cause damage to our cells—including the hair cells of the inner ear—resulting in illness and/or aging. These unmatched atoms happen to affect your hearing in a way you probably never thought about.
Your cochlea is the part of your ear that allows the perception of sounds. Free radical formation in the cochlea restricts blood flow to the ear, and without enough blood flow, it can’t perform its function properly.
Vitamins keep our immune system healthy
Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients that strengthen the immune system, thus keeping infections away due to important antioxidant properties. A strong immune system will stop cases of the flu and colds before an ear infection can block the ear canal with pus, putting you at risk for permanent hearing loss.
As an example, it has been scientifically proven that the treatment of magnesium in combination with vitamins A, C, and E is effective in the treatment and prevention of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
European researchers have also reported that age-related hearing loss (presbycusis) might be a cause of insufficient levels of folic acid or folate. Therefore, consuming foods rich in folic acid might improve hearing conditions. The best sources of these vitamins and minerals are:
A balanced meal provides your body with essential nutrients
There’s a reason why you should have a little bit of everything on your plate: Balanced meals will sustain you with essential nutrients for all bodily functions.
Bananas, spinach, tomatoes, and broccoli are rich sources of magnesium, for example. As replacements, egg yolks, yogurt, avocados, kale, and other leafy green vegetables have a high dose of folate. Foods you eat on a daily basis (or at least the foods you should be eating) do a great job of protecting your hearing.
Proper supplementation is key
Not everyone absorbs nutrients the same way. Conditions such as intestinal malabsorption can result in nutrient deficiency, which might affect the nervous system and other areas in the long term. Supplementation with fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals provides the right level of nourishment to our bodies.
Before you order any bottles from a trusted vitamin manufacturer, though, you must consult a specialist in your area.
Don’t forget to consult an audiologist
An audiologist will detect, evaluate and treat hearing problems. Only a professional knows what kind of treatment is best for each distinctive case, so don’t skip this step. You can easily find the best hearing center in your area through referrals or through a quick internet search. If you’re in Colorado, for example, you could search “Sound Relief Denver audiologist” to find a specialist in your area.
Although some hearing conditions might be permanent, they can be improved if they stem from a lack of proper nutrition with vitamins and minerals. In the case of temporary or potential hearing loss, supplementing with the right nutrients after medical advice should keep your hearing healthy.
As for preventive measures, it’s recommended to have your hearing checked every three years. Also, a quick one: lower the volume of your headphones. Your hair cells will thank you.