Milk for bones, carrots for eyes, bananas for ears? New research suggests the potassium-filled fruit could be effective in protecting against age and environmental hearing loss. Additionally, the fruit’s lesser-known component – zinc – is thought to help protect against tinnitus, and magnesium is thought to prevent noise-related hearing loss.
With one in seven Australians suffering from some variation of a hearing condition, these findings could have a major impact in the future of the industry. Adelaide audiologist Frances Aglipay analysed the information, saying “Studies show that nutritional deficiency is becoming an emerging causative factor in hearing loss.”
She added that potassium is critical to the functioning of the inner ear, as it plays an integral role in converting sounds into signals. Once those sounds are converted, the nervous system recognises them and a person reacts/responds accordingly.
In addition to potassium, the inner ear also contains the highest concentration of zinc of any other organ in the body, and studies suggest there’s a link between zinc deficiency and tinnitus. With 15% of the Australian population suffering from the ear-ringing condition, it’s thought that up to 30% of people experience it at some stage in their life. A healthy, balanced diet devoid of “trigger foods” (as the community has come to call them) is key to keeping tinnitus under control.
Magnesium is another helpful source of ear-healthy nutrients, and it’s thought to protect precious ear hairs from cell damage. This most often comes into play when loud noises, such as music or machinery, put the ear’s delicate features at risk.
But before you stock up on bananas, it should be noted they’re not going to cure hearing loss, but rather may help prevent its progression. While they’re not a blanket solution, we still maintain that a healthy, balanced diet and lifestyle choices are the best way to keep healthy ears into your later years.