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Hearing management

13 August 2018

Healthy eating may protect your hearing

Watching what you eat can improve the quality of your hearing and reduce your risk of hearing loss.

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A healthy diet may reduce a woman's risk of hearing loss, a new study published in the Journal of Nutrition finds.

"We observed that those following an overall healthy diet had a lower risk of moderate or worse hearing loss," said study first author Dr Sharon Curhan, of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

The researchers analysed data from nearly 71 000 women followed for 22 years in the Nurses' Health Study II.

DASH and AMED diets

Those whose eating habits most closely resembled the Alternate Mediterranean Diet (AMED) or the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet were 30% less likely to suffer moderate or severe hearing loss than those whose eating habits were least like those diets, the study found.

The AMED diet features extra virgin olive oil, grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts, fish and moderate intake of alcohol. The DASH diet emphasizes fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy, while restricting salt.

According to a previous Health24 article, food can influence your hearing quality. Foods containing potassium, folic acid, zinc and magnesium can all improve your hearing. 

A similar healthy diet called the Alternative Healthy Eating Index-2010 may also reduce women's risk of hearing loss, according to the study authors.

The researchers can't show a direct cause-and-effect relationship. Still, "eating well contributes to overall good health, and it may also be helpful in reducing the risk of hearing loss," Dr Curhan said in a hospital news release.

About 48 million Americans have hearing loss. While previous studies have examined how specific nutrients might affect risk, the link between overall diet and risk of hearing loss was unclear, the researchers noted.

Image credit: iStock 

 

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Hearing Expert

Dr Kara Hoffman graduated from UCT in 2004, thereafter she completed her year of community service in Durban. In 2010 she completed her Masters Degree in Paediatric Aural Rehabilitation from UKZN. In 2016, she became a Doctor of Audiology through the University of Arizona (ATSU). Dr Hoffman and her partner Lauren Thompson opened a fully diagnostic audiology practice called Thompson & Hoffman Audiology Inc. In 2011 with world-class technology and equipment to be able to offer the broad public all hearing-related services including hearing testing for adults and babies, vestibular (balance) assessments and rehabilitation, industrial audiology, hearing devices, central auditory processing assessments for school-aged children, school screening, neonatal hearing screening programmes at Alberlito and Parklands Hospital, cochlear implants and other implantable devices, medicolegal assessments and advanced electroacoustic assessments of hearing. Thompson and Hoffman Audiology Inc. are based at Alberlito Hospital in Ballito, St Augustines Hospital in Durban and at 345 Essenwood Road, Musgrave. The practices are all wheelchair friendly. There are three audiologists that practice from Thompson & Hoffman – including Dr Kara Hoffman, Lauren Thompson & Minette Lister. The practice boasts professional, highly qualified, and extensive diagnostic services where all your hearing healthcare needs can be met. The additional licensing in vestibular assessment and rehabilitation, paediatric rehabilitation and cochlear implantation places this practice in one of the top specialist audiological positions in South Africa, with a wealth of experience in all clinical areas of audiology and is a very well respected and sought-after practice.

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