Poor Nutrition In Early Childhood Linked To Hearing Loss

A recent study reveals that compared to those better-nourished, adolescents who were undernourished as preschool children were at least twice as likely to suffer from hearing loss.

Researchers from John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health studied 2,200 adolescents in Nepal from 2006 to 2008. They looked into the possible link between respondent’s’ hearing and their nutritional levels as children 16 years prior. The results suggest that hearing loss can be prevented in South Asia if nutritional interventions will be enforced. In the said region, hearing loss currently affects at least 116 million youngsters.

Around the globe, this condition is the fourth leading cause of disability and at least 80% of patients with hearing loss are from low and middle-income countries.

The principal investigator of the study, Keith West Jr., explains that through their findings, this condition would be given the much-needed attention. He also added that hearing loss can be prevented by adding nutrition interventions in early childhood.

Based on the results of auditory tests of the young adult participants, those who were too short for their age or stunted during childhood were nearly as twice as likely to show symptoms of hearing loss. Stunting is an undernourishment condition that typically begins before birth, which is an important time for auditory function development.

The scientists hypothesized that there is an increased risk of hearing loss when undernutrition causes a delay in inner ear development, most especially during the time when the infant is still in the womb.

Likewise, participants who were too thin during their childhood have twice the risk of hearing loss. Acute malnutrition usually results in children being too thin for their age. It refers to the shorter, more severe periods of undernutrition. Child’s vulnerability to infections, like in the ear, can also be increased by acute malnutrition. Repeated ear infections can lead to hearing loss.

According to West, he is confident enough that the data they have could be used to prevent hearing loss as children grow older as well as resolve nutritional burden,

Some studies conducted in the past have determined the link between micronutrient deficiencies, like vitamin A, to hearing impairment.

Yet, this study is the first to examine the connection between hearing loss and generalized undernutrition. Furthermore, it is also the first to identify early childhood nutritional status as a risk factor for hearing loss as children age.

Foods To Improve Hearing

Incorporate these nutrients in your diet to prevent hearing loss:


Potassium helps in regulating the amount of fluid in the body tissue and blood. This can boost hearing health since the fluid in the inner ear needs a lot of potassium. The inner ear is the part of the ear that converts the noises we hear into electrical impulses that the brain interprets as sound. This can be obtained by eating bananas, melons, apricots potatoes and oranges.


Magnesium along with Vitamin A, C, and E help protect you against noise-related hearing loss. Magnesium serves as a protective barrier for the sensitive hair cells in the inner ear and it neutralizes the effects of free radicals from loud noises. Its sources include spinach tomatoes, broccoli, and potatoes.


Zinc facilitates cell growth, heals wounds, helps boost your immune system, and fights germs that cause the common cold and ear infections. Sources include oysters, beef, peanuts, and dark-meat chicken.