Foods that Help Prevent Hearing Loss

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Our ears are sensitive. They have to be in order to capture all the sound waves we use to explore our world. These sounds serve as entertainment, as part of communication, or as warnings of danger. Our brains create sound maps as well as spatial maps that help us make sense of our reality, but too much exposure to loud spikes in sound or continuous noise can damage these sensitive organs. As we age, many of us will also begin to lose our hearing as cells lose functionality or die.

hearing_ear_male_picIt may surprise many people that there are foods you can eat to help protect your ears, prevent hearing loss, and halt the progression of any loss that is already occurring. There are several minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and nutrients that play a role in hearing and have been shown to help you keep listening to the world a little longer.

Alpha Lipoic Acid – Alpha lipoic acid is an enzyme facilitator and antioxidant that is created in small amounts in the body and comes in small amounts in the foods we eat. It defends hearing against free-radical damage, supports nerve system function, and helps generate mitochondria in the hair cells of the inner ear. It can be found in spinach, sweet potatoes, and broccoli.

Potassium – Potassium levels decrease as we age. The ear is particularly susceptible to this drop as potassium plays a large role in the way cells interact within the inner ear. Foods that contain potassium can help protect against age related hearing loss and may even help prevent noise related hearing loss. Foods rich in potassium include bananas, apricots, bananas, melons, oranges, and spinach.

Folate – Folate has been shown to lower the risk or slow the development of age related hearing loss. This B vitamin has long been known to help prevent birth defects, but it is important to health throughout your lifetime. Folate is water soluble and not stored well in the body, so you must get your daily dose from food. Look for broccoli, asparagus, spinach and other leafy greens, lentils, beans, and avocado.

bell_peppers_orange_yellow_red_picVitamin C and E – These two vitamins both act as antioxidants to protect cells from free radical damage. Vitamin E revitalizes blood vessels and nerves around the ear while vitamin C boosts immune function to resist ear infections. Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits, fresh herbs, guava, and strawberries. Vitamin E comes in almonds, sunflower seeds, leafy greens, mango, and olive oil. For the power of both vitamins together pick up red bell peppers, broccoli, kiwi, and papaya.

Vitamin D – This vitamin is found naturally in very few foods, but is important in many aspects of health, ranging from weight control to bone formation. It has more recently taken the stage as aiding in the prevention of hearing loss. Vitamin D has anti-inflammatory properties and strengthens the tiny bones in the ear. Get vitamin D from sunlight, mushrooms, microalgae, and lichens. It only takes a few minutes each day in the sun to supply all you need.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids – Omega 3s are the healthy fats found in many seeds, grains, beans, and oils. These fats reduce inflammation that can damage sensitive tissues and have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system. They have also been linked to the prevention of age related hearing loss. Omega 3 rich foods include chia seeds, flaxseed, walnuts, beans, olive oil, sacha inchi oil, coconut oil, and purslane.

Magnesium – Magnesium is a part of thousands of functions in the body. This mineral helps us deal with stress and has been shown to help ease hearing sensitivities, reduce tinnitus, and prevent hearing loss. pumpkin_seeds_picThere are many foods rich in magnesium. These include almonds, brown rice, leafy greens, artichokes, barley, Brazil nuts, beans, and pumpkin seeds.

Vitamin B12 – A deficiency in B12 can result in hearing loss. For vegans and vegetarians, this vitamin is more difficult to find in food since it comes into the human diet primarily from animal products that have been contaminated by bacteria. It can be also be found in small amounts on organic produce and is created in the intestines by friendly bacteria. There are also a couple cleaner foods that can be leaned on for more B12, namely nori, an edible seaweed, and spirulina, a blue-green algae, but supplementation may be necessary.

Claims on this site have not been evaluated by the FDA. Information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Sunwarrior’s awesome expert writers do not replace doctors and don’t always cite studies, so do your research, as is wise. Seek the advice of a medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle or diet.

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COMMENTS / REPLIES 18

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  • Charlie, I changed my major from Philosophy to English Lit to avoid German philosophers, but now looking for something simple, like vitamins and coconut oil, to save me from annoying trips to EENT to have TheM clean my ear...also have a slight hearing loss, would like to recover hearing!!! Tnx!

  • I have recently heard of a natural supplement a combination of 15 different minerals and vitamins and herbs that can repair all types of hearing loss it is from the Institute for Vibrant Living or I VL it's called Reconnect as any of you tried this.? Everyone in the brochure has raved that it works wonderfully. May I suggest we all go in on the offer and try a bottle and then we can write reviews whether it works or not.

  • 88yrs old, hereditary otosclerosis titanium implants in early thirties, hearing aids first in mid-sixties, and regular checks and updates to top quality and state-of-the-art technology until 2 months ago. But sudden decline and now terrified of total loss of hearing. Can anything be done???

    • Moderator

      In reply to margo's comment

      Sorry, Margo, there isn't a ton that can be done at the moment to reverse hearing loss. There are a few experimental drugs and treatments that are nearing trial phase, like d-methionine, gene therapy, stem cells, and more. You could search for clinical trials near you and see if you can get on one. In the mean time you can prevent hearing loss as much as possible. Avoid loud noises and eat well.

  • This was a great post, thank you! I recently read another article on how you can eat well to keep your hearing healthy, and how this beef and broccoli recipe in particular is good for hearing: http://bit.ly/HearingRecipesBeef

  • Nice i am happy thanks God bless you all

  • I'd recommend adding "Avocados" to the Potassium section. They're a better source of potassium than any of the other items listed.... :) AND a person gets healthy fat along with it (which is necessary for properly assimilating a lot of the vitamins and minerals found in our food)... which is a wonderful bonus. :)

  • Why you still think vegetarian cant get the B12 how do vegetarian get their B12 ..... From Plant ... not from dead flesh this old thinking how do you think cows and other vegetarian animals get their B12 ???
    from plant . So we get our b12 from spinach and other green plan no problem.

    • Moderator

      In reply to Lucien's comment

      I was pretty clear, Lucien, that you can get B12 from vegetarian sources, but it is still more difficult. The problem comes in that most of us wash our produce very well and this washes away the B12 along with dirt, pesticides, and other residues. Cows don't wash anything and they eat in the same area that they poop, which is how they mainly get their B12. Our human obsession with sanitation is a double-edged sword. It does both good and harm.

  • Thank you, your suggestions were great!

  • Great article! really heplful as I've been dealing with hearing problems for several years now.. still I'm only 21.. doctors and hospital research found nothing! reducing stress, exercising and taking this foods and supplements really improved my situation a lot! I recommend it too anyone suffering from tinitus, hearing loss and other hearing problems like weird air pressures, crackling in the ear and more

    • In reply to Ben's comment

      I know you left this comment a long time ago, but on the off chance you will see this I wanted to share that mercury containing amalgam filings are the cause of my hearing loss. If you have any silver fillings that could be an issue for you, too.

      If you choose to have them removed, first have tests to determine what to replace them with and make sure you use a special dentist. There are many precautions that must be taken to avoid acute mercury exposure.

      Many who complain about tinnitus might stop if they realized that at least with it you still have some hearing. When the condition worsens the silence will mean total deafness in that ear. Eating very healthy organic, grass fed, wild forage, and herbal teas is gradually restoring my hearing, but the Tinnitus can get louder. Instead of one ear sounding like a sea shell now it roars and the other has a high pitched whine. Better noises than total deafness.

    • Moderator

      Very good suggestion, Gail. Thank you!