You’re feeling hungry so you look in your fridge for a little bite to eat. Do you want something salty… maybe some crackers? Chips sound good! Hold up. Maybe this leftover slice of cheesecake.
Perhaps you should just go with a banana on second thought. A banana is a healthier choice after all.
Everything is interrelated in the human body. So maybe it’s not a big surprise that what you eat can impact your ears. If you consume a high sodium diet, for instance, it can elevate your blood pressure and that can increase your tinnitus symptoms. Current research is suggesting that diet can have a strong influence on the development of tinnitus symptoms.
Tinnitus and your diet
Research published in Ear and Hearing, the official journal of the American Auditory Society, observed a wide variety of people and took a close look at their diets. Your danger of specific inner ear conditions, including tinnitus, increases or diminishes depending on what you eat. And your chance of getting tinnitus increases, particularly when your diet is lacking vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 wasn’t the only nutrient that was associated with tinnitus symptoms. Your chance of getting tinnitus also increases if your diet is too high in fat, calcium, and iron.
That isn’t all. This research also indicated that tinnitus symptoms can also be affected by dietary patterns. For example, your likelihood of developing tinnitus will be reduced by a diet high in protein. It also seemed that diets low in fat and high in fruits and veggies had a positive impact on your hearing.
So should you make a change to your diet?
You would have to have a seriously deficient diet in order for that to be the cause, so changing your diet alone probably won’t have a substantial impact. Your hearing is far more likely to be affected by other factors, such as exposure to loud sound. But your general health depends on a healthy diet.
This research has uncovered some practical and meaningful insights:
- Get your hearing tested professionally: If you’re dealing with hearing loss or tinnitus, have your hearing examined. We will be able to help you determine (and properly address) any hearing loss.
- Safeguarding your ears takes many approaches: As reported by this study, eating a healthy diet can help reduce your susceptibility to tinnitus and other inner ear ailments. But that doesn’t mean the overall risk has disappeared. It just gives you better odds of avoiding ear conditions. So if you want to decrease the risk of tinnitus even more, you’ll have to take an inclusive approach to protect your hearing. This will frequently mean safeguarding your ears from loud noise by wearing earplugs or earmuffs
- Quantities vary: Certainly, if you want to keep your hearing healthy you need a certain amount of B12 in your diet. Getting less than that could increase your vulnerability to tinnitus. But your ears won’t necessarily be healthy just because you get enough B12. Getting too little or too much of these nutrients could be damaging to your hearing, so always talk with your doctor about any supplements you take.
- Nutrients are essential: Your overall hearing health will be effected by what you eat. It certainly seems like a generally healthy diet will be good for your ears. So it isn’t hard to see how issues like tinnitus can be an outcome of poor nutrition. And with people who are lacking the essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they need, this is particularly true.
Real life doesn’t always echo the research
And, lastly, it’s important to note that, while this research is impressive and interesting, it’s not the last word on the topic. More research must be carried out on this subject to validate these findings, or to improve them, or challenge them. How much of this relationship is causal and how much is correlational is still something that needs to be established, for instance.
So we’re not suggesting that tinnitus can be eliminated by a B12 shot alone. Keeping that ringing in your ears from surfacing from the start may mean taking a multi-faceted approach. One of those facets can certainly be diet. But it’s essential to take measures to protect your hearing and don’t forget about established strategies.
If you’re experiencing tinnitus, give us a call. We can help.