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Diet and hearing loss – Mediterranean diet

Diet is an important factor in maintaining overall health, and recent studies have shown that it may also play a role in hearing health. The Mediterranean diet, in particular, has been associated with a lower risk of hearing loss in several studies. Here are some key findings from these studies:

  • A study conducted among middle-aged and older adults in the USA found that adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet was inversely associated with high-frequency hearing loss.

  • Another study conducted among women found that higher adherence to the Alternate Mediterranean diet (AMED) and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet was associated with a lower risk of hearing loss.
  • A prospective study conducted among women found that adherence to the DASH and AMED diets was associated with a lower risk of low-frequency hearing threshold elevation.

These findings suggest that a Mediterranean-style diet may be beneficial for hearing health. Although the specific nutrients or foods in the Mediterranean diet that are beneficial for hearing health are not clear, the Mediterranean diet is characterized by high consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, fish, and olive oil, and low consumption of red meat, processed foods, and sweets. This diet is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which may help protect against oxidative stress and inflammation in the auditory system which impacts hearing loss.

Maintaining a healthy diet is important for overall health, including hearing health. Adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet may be beneficial for reducing the risk of hearing loss. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings and to determine the specific mechanisms by which diet affects hearing health.

Written by: Brittany Bowen, CDA

Are you in the Forest Hill or Toronto area, and have questions or concerns about your hearing? Stop by Toronto Hearing Health Clinic, we would love to help!
  1. Huang, Q., Jin, Y., Reed, N. S., Ma, Y., Power, M. C., & Talegawkar, S. A. (2020). Diet quality and hearing loss among middle-older aged adults in the USA: findings from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Public health nutrition, 23(5), 812–820. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1368980019002970
  2. Curhan, S. G., Wang, M., Eavey, R. D., Stampfer, M. J., & Curhan, G. C. (2018). Adherence to Healthful Dietary Patterns Is Associated with Lower Risk of Hearing Loss in Women. The Journal of nutrition, 148(6), 944–951. https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxy058
  3. Curhan, S. G., Halpin, C., Wang, M., Eavey, R. D., & Curhan, G. C. (2020). Prospective Study of Dietary Patterns and Hearing Threshold Elevation. American journal of epidemiology, 189(3), 204–214. https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwz223
  4. Yévenes-Briones, H., Caballero, F. F., Struijk, E. A., Machado-Fragua, M. D., Ortolá, R., Rodríguez-Artalejo, F., & Lopez-Garcia, E. (2022). Diet Quality and the Risk of Impaired Speech Reception Threshold in Noise: The UK Biobank cohort. Ear and hearing, 43(2), 361–369. https://doi.org/10.1097/AUD.0000000000001108
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