Hearing loss: risk factors may include high consumption of Western foods


Hearing loss is a natural part of the aging cycle, and the condition can be experienced in varying degrees. In some cases, it can strike in just a few days. Several studies have suggested that the onset of hearing loss may be related to the availability of nutrients in the diet. Western foods have been identified as the culprit in one study.

According to early research, a direct association has been found between Western food and sudden idiopathic deafness.

The Western diet is generally characterized by a high consumption of pre-packaged foods, refined grains, red meat, sugary foods, and high-fat diet products.

An early study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology identified diet as a potential risk factor for sudden hearing loss.

The researchers noted, “This study suggests that a largely Western diet may be a risk factor for idiopathic sudden hearing loss, a traditional Japanese diet may be a preventive factor for this condition, or both.

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Sudden deafness, also known as sudden sensorineural hearing loss, usually occurs all at once or over a few days.

People with this type of loss tend to discover their symptoms when they wake up in the morning.

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders recognizes a variety of risk factors for the condition.

The health body adds, however, that only 10% of cases diagnosed with the disorder have an identifiable cause.

Some conditions known to predispose individuals to sudden hearing loss include infections, head trauma, and a range of autoimmune diseases.

How to avoid hearing loss

According to the Hearing Health Foundation, several nutrients confer protection against hearing loss.

Potassium – found in bananas, potatoes and black beans – “plays an important role in the functioning of the inner ear and converts sound into signals that the brain interprets”.

Omega-3 fatty acids are another key weapon in preventing age-related hearing loss.

The nutrient can be found in walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, fortified eggs, fortified milk, oysters and salmon.


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