One of the most prevalent conditions affecting older adults is hearing loss. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders estimates that one-third of those between the ages of 65 and 74 suffer from hearing problems, and that percentage increases to nearly half of all seniors after age 75.
Luckily, there are many ways you can prevent hearing loss, and a healthy diet rich in certain vitamins and minerals is one of them.
Healthy Eating for Healthy Hearing
We all know the healing power of food, and as it turns out, you really are what you eat! Maintain your healthy hearing and prevent hearing loss by including these minerals in your diet:
We often hear a lot about the importance of potassium, but what exactly does it do? Potassium regulates the amount of fluid in your body tissue and blood. Age-related hearing problems are caused by a drop of fluid levels in the inner ear. This drop happens naturally with age, but a rich supply of potassium will keep those levels at a healthy level.
So how can you increase your potassium intake? Think bananas, potatoes, yogurt, raisins, oranges, melons, apricots, spinach and lima beans.
Besides age-related hearing loss, hearing problems due to long-term exposure to loud noises (e.g. construction sites) are also very common. Studies have shown that magnesium is very beneficial for this specific kind of hearing loss. It acts as a kind of protective barrier for the inner ear and ensures that the inner ear’s blood vessels have enough oxygen.
To get a healthy dose of magnesium, bananas, potatoes and spinach make the list again, but artichokes, broccoli and tomatoes will also help prevent hearing loss.
It’s common knowledge that zinc boosts the immune system, which is key in fighting off infections, such as ear infections. There are also studies out there showing that zinc benefits those suffering from tinnitus, or the sensation of ringing or buzzing in your ears.
To boost your ear health, foods rich in zinc include beef, almonds, beans, oysters, peanuts, lentils and even dark chocolate. A note about zinc however: zinc can affect some antibiotics and diuretics, so speak with your doctor first before adding zinc to your diet.
Although it might be the least-known mineral on this list, a healthy dose of folic acid might be the most effective in promoting healthy hearing. According to recent studies, older adults with lower levels of folic acid in their blood are at a greater risk of age-related hearing problems. Folic acid affects your body’s ability to grow new cells and circulate blood, which helps keep the inner ear’s hair cells healthy and working.
Skipping breakfast is never a good idea, and eating fortified breakfast cereal is the perfect way to start your day while boosting your hearing. Asparagus, broccoli, spinach and liver are other foods high in folic acid.
Accommodating for your Ears
While including these minerals in your diet will boost your hearing, it’s still important to be on the lookout for any signs of hearing problems. Should you notice that you are beginning to have more difficulty hearing others, see your doctor immediately. Hearing screenings are key in detecting any signs of hearing loss, and your doctor can help you determine your next steps. There is no shame in hearing loss, and there are options out there to help you!
Along with the various health complications it brings, hearing problems also commonly lead to falls. A medical alert system from Medical Guardian will give you access to help instantly should you fall or experience another health complication.