Protecting your hearing and lifelong ear health is vitally important, yet many people don’t actively think about how to protect the health of their ears. Supplementing your body with the right nutrients can support your body in various ways, but did you know that certain supplements are thought to improve the health of your hearing? A variety of scientific studies have suggested that certain vitamins and supplements are beneficial to the health of our ears. From potassium to zinc, these are some of the best supplements and vitamins for ear health.
Potassium is crucial for converting sound into nerve impulses that are sent to the brain. The fluid in our inner ear, which is a central component of the process, needs potassium to work properly. The levels of potassium drop as we age, which has been linked to hearing loss. Supplementing your diet with potassium-rich foods may help in preventing age-related hearing loss.
Magnesium has been linked to combating tinnitus and hearing loss. In fact, after exposure to high noise levels, the levels of magnesium in inner ear fluid drop significantly. As magnesium protects the nerves in the inner ear, it plays an essential role in hearing health, especially if your hearing loss is attributed to noise exposure.
3. Vitamin A, C, and E
Studies have shown that maintaining healthy levels of Vitamin A, C and E alongside magnesium are associated with lower risks of hearing loss, as they help protect against inner ear cell damage caused by free radicals. The antioxidants in these vitamins prevent damage to health cells, making all three of these essential vitamins for ear health. Vitamin C also bolsters the immune system, which can reduce the risk of pesky ear infections.
4. Folate/Folic Acid
Folic Acid and folate—the natural source of vitamin B-9—is essential to the function of inner-ear health, and has been proven to slow the decline of age-related hearing. It also helps fight off free radicals to keep them from reducing blood flow to the inner ear and damaging our ear’s sensory cells. Research has shown that individuals with low levels of folic acid are more likely to lose their hearing faster than those with higher levels, making folate an important vitamin for ear health.
Commonly deficient in the diet, zinc is thought to be one of the most important mineral supplements. It’s known to support the immune system, meaning it can help your body fight off ear infections and is even used to combat tinnitus and sudden hearing loss in individuals with normal hearing. Impaired hearing has also been linked to low levels of zinc, as a person’s inner ear normally contains the most amount of zinc in their body. Zinc supports ear health by increasing your inner ear’s resistance to age-related hearing loss, which makes maintaining a zinc-rich diet essential.
6. Vitamin B-12
One of the most important vitamins for ear health is vitamin B-12. A B-12 deficiency has been linked on many occasions to tinnitus—increasing your intake of the vitamin can relieve its symptoms. B-12 is essential to create myelin, the protective cover that surrounds the nerves. If you’re lacking in B-12, the communication between your nerves can deteriorate and lead to tinnitus. As the human body does not produce B-12 naturally, it’s important to eat foods that are rich in the vitamin, such as eggs, fish, and poultry.
7. Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 is another great supplement that supports healthy ear function. It is thought to be effective in slowing the development of age-related hearing loss, as it strengthens the blood vessels in our ear’s sensory system and helps maintain blood flow to the ears. Scientists also believe these fatty acids help to protect cell life by slowing down cell aging, and in turn, positively affecting ear health and hearing. While omega 3 is found in a variety of foods, you can also maintain healthy levels through over-the-counter supplements.
While none of the vitamins and supplements will eliminate or reverse any immediate concerns, they all play a crucial part in protecting your hearing and health. Adding foods rich in these vitamins and minerals and supplementing your diet with vitamins for ear health can be a positive and proactive move for your future health.