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You may have heard that vitamins and minerals are essential for good health, but did you know that they could also protect your hearing? Read more about ways your nutrition can affect how well you hear!

Vitamins and minerals play an essential role in a broad variety of processes including bone growth and muscle repair. Some important nutrients include:

Hearing Loss and Vitamin B12

One study published in the American Journal of Otolaryngology found that nearly half of patients examined with hearing loss or tinnitus were deficient in vitamin B12. Some patients, however, reported lower intensities of tinnitus after vitamin B12 replacement therapy.

You can obtain vitamin B12 by eating meat, eggs and dairy. In addition to lowering your risk for hearing loss, vitamin B12 also aids in brain development and cardiovascular health.

Hearing Loss and Nicotinamide Riboside (NR)

Another recent study on mice from Weill Cornell Medical College in New York found that a precursor to vitamin B3 was successful in helping to prevent hearing loss both before and after exposure to a loud noise. Called nicotinamide riboside (NR), the nutrient can actually protect nerves found inside the cochlea. NR helps to prevent hearing loss by increasing the levels of certain proteins involved in cellular metabolism.

Hearing Loss and Magnesium

Magnesium may help to prevent incidences of hearing loss as well as support vital bodily functions including metabolism and muscle contraction. Magnesium can be found in meat, legumes and dark green vegetables. Signs that you aren’t getting enough magnesium include nausea and fatigue. Eating meats, leafy greens and other nutrient-rich food items is usually sufficient to provide the recommended daily amounts of vitamins and minerals.

Hearing Loss and Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Other nutrients have also been tied into hearing loss prevention. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish such as mackerel, sardines and tuna can increase blood flow to different parts of the ear. Two or more servings of fish a day can reduce your chances of experiencing hearing loss.

Ingredients in coffee can also help reduce instances of tinnitus. According to a Brigham and Women’s Hospital study, women that drank four and a half to six cups of coffee daily experienced tinnitus 15% less frequently than women who drank less than one and a half cups.

For vegans, vegetarians and other groups that refrain from some or all animal products, it may be a bit more difficult to get the recommended amount of certain nutrients. Substances like omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12 are often times not found in plant sources. Be sure to take advantage of vitamin supplements, especially if you have placed restrictions on your diet.

Multivitamins are an effective way to obtain the nutrients you need, as many are designed specifically for people of a certain age or sex. Getting the proper amounts of vitamins and minerals can also lower your risk for obesity, another disease that is associated with increased rates of hearing loss. One of the best actions you can take is visiting your doctor and finding out what your specific nutritional needs are.