University of Florida researchers have found a link between healthy eating and better hearing. More specifically they have shown a link between better hearing in the higher frequencies and a healthy diet.
Christopher Spankovich, UF Health researcher examined the eating habits of people participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Previously Spankovich found the higher a person scored on the Healthy Eating Index portion of the survey, the better their hearing.
Data from the original survey questionnaires for 2,366 people were combined with each receiving a four-part hearing test. Spankovich analyzed the data and found a strong connection between diet, hearing and noise exposure.
Of those studied, people who ate well but had higher noise exposure was comparable to the hearing of people with poor diets and lower noise exposure. The results were published in the International Journal of Audiology.
While eating healthfully may not reverse hearing damage, a good diet may play a part in prevention.
“Our hearing health is linked to our general health. Our auditory system is dependent on our cardiovascular, neural and metabolic health, and if we are not healthy in general, it makes sense that we could increase our susceptibility to hearing loss.” said lead researcher Spankovich.
The participants of the study that scored well on the Healthy Eating Index ate plenty of vegetables and fruit to maintain a high-fiber low-salt diet. Both saturated fat and cholesterol were also lower than the limits of the USDA’s dietary recommendations.
Spankovich emphasized their study identified a statistically sound relationship between hearing and diet. “These initial studies are showing the link between diet, auditory function and noise exposure. We can’t show cause-and-effect because it’s a cross-sectional study,” Spankovich said.
Spankovich’s plans to research the link between better high-frequency hearing and diet via a long-term longitudinal study using a larger sample population.
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