Protect Your Hearing Using a Whole Diet Approach

Posted June 2023
Poke with tuna, avo, cucumber, spring onion & furikake on Corn Thins slices


Do you enjoy being able to hear the sweet sounds of the birds in the morning? Simple pleasures like having optimal hearing are often something we take for granted. There are certain lifestyle choices you can integrate into your life which may help preserve your hearing. One that you may not have considered is your diet.

The World Health Organization predicts that around 466 million people worldwide suffer from hearing loss. 30% of these are predicted to be over the age of 65 years and 10% children. Your diet may play a factor in reducing your risk of becoming a statistic of hearing loss.

There are certain nutrients which may reduce your risk of hearing loss like folic acid, zinc, omega-3 fat, and potassium. Saying this, a whole diet approach is recommended as the best strategy. Each whole food provides your body and ears with a matrix of nutrients and health benefits. Two diets which are linked to a reduced risk of hearing loss is the Mediterranean diet, and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.

81,818 women were selected as part of the Nurses Health Study to determine the potential effects of diet on hearing loss. The duration of this study was from 1991 to 2003. At the beginning of the study the women were aged between 27–44 years. Each four years the researchers investigated diet trends of the participants using food frequent questionnaires. The researchers also determined how strictly the Alternative Mediterranean diet, and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet were adhered to.

The diet adherence score provided a score based on the diet patterns linked to lower risk of chronic disease. For example, in the Alternative Mediterranean diet there were 9 items on the list of foods and eating behaviors. These were vegetables (except potatoes), fruits, nuts, legumes, whole grains, monounsaturated-to-saturated fat ratio, fish, red/processed meats, and alcohol. For red/processed meats a point was given when the individual consumed less than the median amount for the general population. One point was given for alcohol if an individual consumed no more than 5-15g of alcohol each day. Otherwise, these two groups were not awarded any points.

The researchers found that those participants who most strictly followed these diets were 30% and 29% respectively less likely than those least strictly following thee diets to develop hearing loss.

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet includes eating nine to ten servings of fruit and vegetables each day. Also, plenty of whole grains like whole grain pasta, rice, bread, crackers, whole grain containing foods like Corn Thins slices, or couscous or quinoa. Also, plenty of legumes and beans, nuts, and seeds. As well as dairy and moderate amounts of seafood and white meat like chicken and turkey. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet limits red and processed meats as well as sweetened beverages and sodium.

The Mediterranean Diet includes of a variety of plant foods like legumes, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and whole grain containing foods like Corn Thins slices, and extra virgin olive oil. As well as a focus on including seafood, moderate amounts of eggs, dairy, and chicken with small amounts of red meat. Herbs and spices are used rather than addition of salt.

Take home message: Preserve your hearing to be able to enjoy the sweet sounds in life. A whole diet approach is recommended to give your ears the nutrients which are linked to optimal function.



  1. Puga AM, Pajares MA, Varela-Moreiras G, Partearroyo T. Interplay between Nutrition and Hearing Loss: State of Art. Nutrients. 2018 Dec 24;11(1):35. doi: 10.3390/nu11010035. PMID: 30586880; PMCID: PMC6356655.
  2. Sharon G Curhan, Molin Wang, Roland D Eavey, Meir J Stampfer, Gary C Curhan, Adherence to Healthful Dietary Patterns Is Associated with Lower Risk of Hearing Loss in Women, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 148, Issue 6, June 2018, Pages 944–951,
Ashleigh Felth…
Accredited Practising Dietitian
  • Article By:
    • Ashleigh Felth…