This may or may not come as a surprise — but your diet can have an effect on your hearing. Like anything in your body, certain nutrients are necessary to maintain the health of your body’s hearing apparatus.

Below is a list of some specific foods and nutritional components that are especially impactful on hearing health. But it’s not too complicated, since an overall healthy diet will support your ear canal’s proper functioning — while bad dietary habits will cause problems.

For example, too many salty and sugary foods can increase fluid levels in your body, including the ear canal. This can lead to a higher likelihood of ear infections, which can cause short- and long-term issues with hearing. Too much caffeine can also exacerbate some hearing problems.

In contrast, there are a number of foods that provide folates — the naturally occurring form of folic acid, also known as B9 vitamins — that are good for hearing health. These include:

  • Legumes (beans, peas, lentils)
  • Vegetables (asparagus, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach, kale, and arugula
  • Avocadoes
  • Citrus Fruits (oranges, grapefruit, lemons)
  • Papaya and bananas
  • Wheat Germ
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and seeds; fortified grains
  • Beef Liver

There are a number of nutrients that are vital to hearing function:

  • Magnesium strengthens the inner ear.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids help maintain the blood vessels in the ear.
  • Antioxidants are vital to countering the effects of free radicals — which can degrade cells and proteins in the body — including hindering hearing.
  • Potassium helps maintain the proper balance of fluids in your blood, an important factor in the delicate operations of the ear.

Like overall diet, the trick is to get into the habit of eating foods that are good for your hearing.