There are no secret remedies that a person can rub into their ears to miraculously treat their hearing loss, nor is there is a “Get Your Hearing Back in 3 Weeks Diet.” No shortcuts like that exist. However, studies have shown that your diet can affect your hearing health.
According to an 2016 article written by Cameron Phillips and published on the National Campaign for Better Hearing website, vitamins and minerals play an essential role in keeping our auditory systems healthy and functioning properly. It’s commonly known that calcium builds strong bones and zinc strengthens the immune system. Likewise, there are minerals that are vital in protecting hearing health.
Find them in food before taking them as a supplement
Before anything, advise your patients to ask their primary care physician about adding supplements to their diet. Some can counteract the effects of certain medications, including antibiotics and diuretics. The good news is minerals that treat hearing loss naturally are found in many foods.
Here are a few to inform your patients of:
Helps regulate fluid in the inner ear. As we age, these levels drop, which can contribute to hearing loss. Potassium can be found in potatoes, spinach, lima beans, tomatoes, raisins, apricots, bananas, melons, oranges, yogurt, and low-fat milk.
Helps the body generate new cell growth, while also increasing circulation throughout the body. This contributes to the overall health of the hair cells in the inner ear. Foods that are rich in folic acid include fortified breakfast cereal, liver, spinach, broccoli, and asparagus.
A 1994 study published in the American Journal of Otolaryngology proved that oral magnesium intake helps reduce risk of permanent hearing loss induced by noise exposure. Results showed that magnesium acted as a protective barrier to hair cells in the inner ear. On the contrary, lack of magnesium was proven to shrink blood vessels in the inner ear, causing a deprivation of oxygen. Magnesium can be found in bananas, artichokes, potatoes, spinach, and broccoli.
Boosts the body’s immune system and can fight infections that affect the ear. Foods with ample amounts of zinc include beef, pork, dark-meat chicken, cashews, almonds, peanuts, beans, split peas, lentils, oysters, and dark chocolate.
Omega-3 Fats and Vitamin D
Famous for their anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties, omega-3 fats may also prevent hearing loss. According to a 2010 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, regular consumption of magnesium can reduce the risk of age-related hearing loss by over 40 percent. Omega-3 also improves brain function, helping your nervous system send signals between your brain and your ears more effectively. It can be found in flaxseed oil, krill oil, salmon, soybean oil, and sardines.
Others swear by herbs
Certain herbs are touted as being beneficial to treating hearing loss naturally.
Beyond boosting the immune system and fighting off colds, Echinacea also acts as a counter-agent to infections that could lead to hearing loss. It reduces inflammation of the sinuses and ear tissues as an additional benefit.
With its antibiotic and antiviral components, ginger helps prevent infections that can cause hearing loss. This herb also activates and regulates nerves that facilitate sound transmission waves to the brain.
Is rich in potassium, which as we noted earlier, plays a huge role in hearing health.
Provides proper blood circulation throughout the body, especially to the ear tissues. This herb is also known to help relieve tinnitus.
Share this information with your patients. Keep in mind that there is limited scientific research that suggests any mineral, herb, or supplement can reverse or prevent future hearing loss. At the end of the day, it doesn’t hurt to try. If nothing else, your patients will be eating a little healthier.