One in every seven people suffer from ear problems, majorly hearing loss – when calculated in the total population, the figures runs to millions.
It has been estimated that approximately 275 million people suffer from light to moderate hearing problems.
In the face, similar to eyes, nose, ears also can be termed as one of the most sensitive organs. They have to be duly taken care, of for analyzing the sound waves. Sounds are used as effective means of communication using language, or as warnings or danger. However, excessive noise can cause harm (temporary or permanent damage) to these vital organs.
Hearing loss usually has been found to begin at 50 and it is estimated that seventy percent of 70-year old and forty percent of 50-year old have at least some form of this problem.
The common types of hearing loss in adults are:
- Age-related (presbycusis) – Tiny hair cells in the ear are slowly broken down and regeneration if slow due to old age.
- Noise-induced – Exposure to loud noises for a long time cause damage to hair cells present in ears. These cells perform the function to pick vibrations of sound and send them to the brain via signals.
Top 5 Super Foods To Prevent Hearing Loss
Food. This single word is essential for our day-to-day activities. We are what we eat. So simple yet so true. Very few of us, rarely even 1% of us know that healthy eating is a sure fire way to a healthy hearing. Food for hearing loss has become a very much discussed topic. Let’s see what kinds of food help your hearing better.
We can divide the foods into two categories. The first being regular fruits, vegetables and meat and second, vitamins and minerals. We shall start with the first category.
Cold water fish like sardines, tuna and trout are awesome sources of Omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin D. Omega-3 is all important because it fights off free radicals that cause stress. Free radicals are compounds that are in need of an electron to complete their electronic configuration. They are just everywhere in our body and is inevitable. Fish is your ear’s new found companion!
Omega-3 acids assist in strengthening blood vessels in the ears. If you include in the diet, trout, tuna, salmon and sardines – they are considered an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. You also get another vital component for preventing ear loss in fish – zinc.
Remember when mom always says, ‘finish up all those veggies, they are good for you’? Mothers are always right. Broccoli contains rich sources of Folic Acid. Folic acid is an antioxidant, as mentioned above, it combats stress causing free radicals. Regular consumption of antioxidants is reported to reduce the risk of hearing loss of 20%.
Yep! This citrus magic is full of vitamin C and is undoubtedly a powerful antioxidant in its own right. Orange has a good amount of potassium and vitamin E as well. Vitamin E clears off dirty blood vessels and revitalizes it. Vitamin C keeps infections at bay.
This tropical fruit is not just good for your bowel issues. It is just as good for those hearing sense organs.
Bananas are well known for their potassium levels. Potassium has many benefits including protection against noise-induced hearing disability. Now that is powerful!
5. Ginkgo Biloba
Ever heard of people complaining that they hear ‘ringing’ in their ears? Yes. The medical term for this condition is called tinnitus. Ginkgo had been in the spotlight recently when researchers found that it had protective effects against a compound called gentamicin (responsible for triggers cochlear damage).
Ginkgo also improved and repaired neurological functions. This amazing herb increases blood flow to the ear and brain, optimize oxygen usage and also protects against the damages caused free radicals.
Now let’s step into nutrition that helps us in our hearing. Vitamins and minerals play an incredible role in the daily battle of keeping our body fit and healthy. With recent development in research and nutrition science, food has found use in both the prevention of disease and treatment. Let’s have a look at the minerals and vitamins that make such an impact in our hearing ability.
Potassium’s function is to regulate the fluid levels in your body and body tissues. Now that is super important because your ears have fluids that you would not want to displace and give you a vertigo attack! Also, the fluid is heavily dependent on potassium levels. Potassium is most needed in your ears especially the part where noise signals are converted to electrical impulses.
You can include potassium-rich foods in the diet such as bananas, oranges, melons and apricots. You can also find this mineral in lima beans, raisins, milk, spinach and potatoes. The average mg of potassium needed per day for a human body is 3500.
2. Folic Acid
Cell regrowth is at the peak level when the body has sufficient Folic Acid. Folate is the organic form of folic acid. The formation of new DNA and RNA happens beautifully with a rich supply of folate. The folate supply in your body decreases in age (which is why older people find it hard to hear). Elderly folks who took regular folate supplements are found to experience a lesser risk of hearing loss.
Including spinach, broccoli, beans, eggs, whole grains, fortified cereals, nuts and asparagus in the diet can give you valuable resources of folic acid. In addition to folic acid, Vitamin C, E found in fruits and vegetables decrease the risk of ear infections.
Milk of Magnesia. Rings a bell? No, No. That is not magnesium at all. Magnesium is like a shield protecting our ears from the attack of unwanted noises. In simple terms, magnesium protects us from noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). When noise irritates you, magnesium comes to the rescue by combating the free radicals emitted during the attack. Much like a protective barrier in the inner ear where the hair cells are present. Another important fact is that, a decrease in magnesium will cause the blood vessel to shrink, and that means a shortage of life-supporting oxygen.
This mineral is found in artichokes, broccoli, fish, whole grains, nuts, potatoes and bananas.
Zinc is a life savior for your inner ear. It resists damage cause by presbycusis or any age-related hearing loss problems. Zinc has wonderful immune building properties. This allows the body to fight the first attack without any problem. However, too much zinc can cause other troubles like interference with the copper absorption in our body. It is the vital component in the regenerative process and essential for new cell growth.
Zinc is found in oysters, beef, nuts, cereals (wheat germ), shell fish and dark chocolate etc.
Steps To Protecting Your Delicate Sense Of Hearing
1. Limit Exposure To Noise
Remember, noise is not music. Both are completely different. If you ever get into an environment, where you need to shout over a noisy neighborhood, then it causes damage to your ears.
2. Be A No Noise Supporter
Buy appliances with low noise ratings and turn down ambiance noise level in your life.
3. Wear Right Ear Protection
When you know you are going to a place or situation where there are noises, bring along or wear ear protecting devices. Choices include:
They usually made from rubber or foam. Earplugs are usually worn in the ear canal and are believed to reduce noise up to fifteen to thirty decibels. (That is a lot!)
These look like headphones. They are designed to cover completely both your ears to block sound. Like earplugs, they block sound up to fifteen to thirty decibels.
4. Remove Earwax Properly
Now, never use cotton buds to remove earwax. They just push it deeper rather than getting it out. Use baby oil to remove ear wax.
5. Stop Smoking
Yep. You read that right. Smoking can cause hearing loss as well. Exposure to tobacco may increase your risk of getting your delicate senses impaired.