Hears to your Health
We are all familiar with the phrase “you are what you eat.” There is also accumulating evidence that “you ear what you eat” as well. In the current issue (June 2018) of the Journal of Nutrition, Sharon Curhan and colleagues examine the relationship between dietary patterns and risk of hearing loss in women. Leveraging data from the longitudinal Nurses’ Health Study, Curhan et al (2018) assessed dietary adherence to the Mediterranean diet, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, the Alternative Healthy Eating Index-2010 and risk for self-reported hearing loss in women aged 27–44 years at baseline.
The results demonstrated that adherence to the Mediterranean diet and DASH diets lowered risk for hearing loss by ~30 percent and the AHEI recommendations by ~20 percent. There is significant overlap between dietary recommendations of each dietary pattern, with emphasis on higher intake of vegetables, fruit, and whole grains, and lower intake of sugar, saturated fats, and sodium. The Mediterranean diet differentiates with nearly exclusive use of olive oil and moderate consumption of wine with meals (cheers to your ears). Of course, the study had limitations, both diet and hearing status were self-reported and the study was exclusively in female participants that are also health professionals.
The take away? In addition to counseling patients on use of hearing protection and limiting exposure to loud sounds, why not suggest a nice big salad with fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds, and some olive oil-based dressing. Of course, don’t forget that glass of wine!
Curhan et al. (2018) Adherence to healthful dietary patterns is associated with lower risk of hearing loss in women. J Nutrition 148(6):944–951.