Hearing loss can occur for many reasons, including but not limited to aging, loud noise exposure, physical trauma to the ear and ototoxic medication (medication that damages the hearing mechanism of the ear). While some causes of hearing loss can be prevented or protected against, like loud noise exposure, others are harder to avoid, like aging.
While you cannot stop the process of aging, some research suggests that certain vitamins or lifestyle changes can improve your overall hearing health. Omega-3 fatty acid is one such vitamin that may affect your hearing.
One study conducted in 2010 analyzed data from 1997-1999 and 2002-2004. Including 2,956 participants, the study compared the development of hearing loss in patients with more than two servings of fish per week to those with less than one. The study found an association between increased fish intake and reduced risk for hearing loss. The study concluded that dietary intervention with Polyunsaturated fatty acids like omega-3s could prevent or delay the progression of age-related hearing loss. Fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acid.
A second study from 2014 backed up the data from this 2010 study. In the 2014 study, 11,606 cases of hearing loss were analyzed to find that patients who consumed two or more servings of fish per week were associated with a lower risk of hearing loss.
How Can You Increase Your Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake?
A couple of easy ways to increase your omega-3 fatty acid intake include:
- Fish oil. Fish oil supplements are full of omega-3 fatty acids. If you are a vegetarian, flaxseed or chia seed oils are an excellent substitute.
- Fish. Not only can eating at least two servings of fish a week help prevent hearing loss, but it can also reduce your risk of heart disease. A few fatty fish that contain high amounts of omega-3 include salmon, sardine, Atlantic mackerel, herring and cod. Pick up a couple of these fish at Andy’s Seafood Market for an extra dose of omega-3s.
- Vegetarian sources. If you don’t eat fish, some high omega-3 substitutes include chia seeds, soybeans, walnuts, soy oil and ground flaxseed.
Combined with regular hearing tests and audiology visits, consuming enough omega-3 fatty acids helps ensure good hearing health.
To learn more about protecting your hearing and treating loss with hearing aids, contact North Alabama ENT Associates today to make an appointment with one of our specialists.