Statistics indicate by Jan 15th, 71 percent of the population have already broken their New Year’s Resolution. By Feb 1st, this stat jumps to 80 percent, and only 8 percent achieve the desired goal before the next year. Those statistics are startling.
So what did you decide to change this year? Anything? A lot of people indicate their resolutions are related to diet, exercise or both. Does what you eat matter to your hearing health? Yes it does. “You are what you eat” is the saying we have heard several times. But it is true. Exercise matters a great deal also, especially with regard to our cognitive abilities and, in turn, how the brain processes sound.
I am not going to tell you what to eat or how much exercise you need. Instead, I will divide food into two general categories. Those of “fast or restaurant food” and “store bought.” Category one contains the most processed foods, which are higher in fats, cholesterol, sugars and generally unhealthy foods. Category two includes healthy choices, such as fresh meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts and items containing a nutritional label.
Research has demonstrated the negative relationship between HEI (healthy eating index) and a high frequency hearing loss. The higher the HEI’s, the better the high frequency hearing. The people who consumed a healthy diet and better quality of foods did not have the associated hearing loss. This relates back to the oxygenated blood flow and amounts of fats, which are clogging up the arteries.
Exercise programs also increase the oxygenated blood flow to the inner ears. What about noise, hypertension and hearing loss? Yes, there is a correlation between these areas also. I would advise not putting your earplugs in and turning up the volume while working out. You are not helping your ears with this strategy. The longer the noise exposure, the more significant are the changes in both the auditory and cardiovascular systems.
To help you keep your hearing and your New Year’s resolution of diet and exercise programs, let me offer this piece of advice: Turn down the volume and increase your intake of vegetables, fruits and other healthy foods. Talk to a nutritionist, dietitian or health care professional whose profession it is to advise or guide you on nutrients. Stay away from items or labels of which you can’t program that works for you and your age level. Get a baseline hearing test by an Audiologist to determine where your hearing healthcare is at this time.
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Patricia Larson Shields, AuD FAAA MA CCC-SP/L is a doctor of audiology with her degree from The School of Audiology of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry in February, 2003. She has been in business in Mitchell, SD since September, 1991.