Many people, including some professionals, associate hearing loss with aging. They see it as an inevitable part of life that individuals have little to no control over. However, research is proving otherwise. People with the healthiest diets and eat the best food can better protect their hearing for longer. They’re less likely to wear hearing aids or struggle to hear what friends and family are saying in regular conversation.

Before we get into specific foods for better hearing, it’s worth pointing out that eating an all-around healthy diet is the most significant intervention you can make. While adding so-called “superfoods” here and there can have an impact, it’s the overall quality of your diet that matters for hearing in the long term.

Eating well requires following just a few simple rules. Here’s a rundown:

  • Eat mostly plants
  • Eat foods in the form that they came out of the ground
  • Avoid processed and refined foods
  • Don’t eat too much
  • Eat a variety of different foods

So, with that said, here are some specific foods that may lower your risk of hearing loss:

Dark Green Leafy Vegetables

Dark green leafy vegetables such as bok choy, broccoli, kale, cabbage and Brussels sprouts are packed full of a helpful compound called folate, the natural form of folic acid found in vitamin supplements. Folate plays an important role in facilitating proper circulation and keeping the inner ear healthy.

Unfortunately, most people don’t get enough folate in their diets because they are not eating enough fresh vegetables. If you don’t like dark greens, you can also get folate from peas, kidney beans, chickpeas, whole grain, melons, bananas and peanut butter.


Flaxseeds are one of nature’s superfoods. Not only are they high in lignans, a compound that protects against various types of cancer, but they also contain high levels of omega-3s, an essential nutrient lacking from most Western diets.

Omega-3s have been shown to both delay and prevent age-associated hearing loss. These fats help to keep parts of the inner ear working properly, even as people get older. If you’re not a fan of flaxseed, there are many other omega-3 sources. These include fortified eggs, tuna, sardines, hemp seeds, chia seeds and spinach.


Garlic is a member of the allium family of vegetables and people have used it as medicine for thousands of years. Garlic may help prevent hearing loss because of its ability to lower cholesterol and protect the delicate blood vessels that serve the ear. Garlic is also highly anti-inflammatory: it reduces blood pressure and helps stop the immune system from damaging the body’s auditory machinery as we age.

You should note, though, that garlic is a powerful spice. Applying it raw to your skin can actually cause serious burns. Raw garlic has the largest effect. If you eat it regularly, carefully monitor your tongue, gums and cheeks. If you get sores, you may want to take a break.

Whole Grains

Whole grains, particularly intact whole grains, are another food that can potentially protect your hearing. Brown rice is an intact whole grain, whereas brown rice flour is not. The same goes for brown wheat flour used in bread. It’s not an intact grain, whereas the wheat berry itself is intact.

Whole grains protect the ears by helping them maintain nerve function after exposure to loud noises. The tiny hairs in the cochlear appear to be more robust in people who eat whole grains compared to those who don’t.

Whole grains, such as millet, quinoa, brown rice, farrow, and buckwheat, also have additional health benefits. They improve bowel function, reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, and may even lead to weight loss when they displace refined alternatives.

Dark Chocolate

Milk and white chocolate are not good for your ears. However, dark chocolate may be beneficial. That’s because it is high in the mineral magnesium, which the inner ear requires to function.

Magnesium is widely distributed across plant foods. It’s high in cocoa, but it is also found in large concentrations in pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, spinach, bananas, kale, avocados, whole grains, and nuts. Unfortunately, in the West, we don’t get enough of this compound, which lowers our body’s defenses against hearing loss. Adding more magnesium to the diet may protect the sound-sensing hairs in the cochlear and reduce oxygen deprivation in the inner ear.

Get In Touch

If you believe you may have hearing loss and could benefit from a hearing aid, get in touch with a team member at Sound Choice Hearing today by calling (505) 565-7960.