You’re starving so you go to your fridge for a little bite to eat. Will it be something salty… maybe some crackers? Oooo, chips! Hold up. Maybe this leftover piece of cheesecake.
Perhaps you should just opt for a banana on second thought. A banana is a healthier choice after all.
When it comes to the human body, everything is connected. So it’s probably not a big surprise that what you eat can affect your ears. If you consume a diet high in sodium, for instance, it can elevate your blood pressure which can escalate your tinnitus symptoms. Recent research is indicating that diet can have a direct influence on the development of tinnitus symptoms.
Tinnitus and your diet
The official journal of the American Auditory Society, called Ear and Hearing, published research that looked at the diets of a wide variety of people. The data shows that your diet might increase or diminish your vulnerability to some inner ear disorders, tinnitus among them. And your risk of getting tinnitus increases, especially when your diet is lacking vitamin B12.
There were other nutrients besides B12 that were linked to tinnitus symptoms. Your risk of developing tinnitus also increases if your diet is too high in fat, calcium, and iron.
That isn’t all. The researchers also observed that dietary patterns could also bring about tinnitus symptoms. In particular, diets high in protein seemed to reduce the likelihood of developing tinnitus. Not surprisingly, low-fat diets that were high in fruits, vegetables, and meats also seemed pretty good for your ears.
Does this mean you should change your diet?
You would need to have a seriously deficient diet in order for that to be the cause, so changing your diet alone probably won’t have a significant impact. Your hearing is much more likely to be affected by other factors, such as exposure to loud sound. But your general health depends on a healthy diet.
There are some meaningful and useful insights that we can take from this research:
- Quantities vary: Certainly, if you want to keep your ears healthy you need a certain amount of B12 in your diet. You will be more vulnerable to tinnitus if you go below this level. But getting more vitamin B12 won’t necessarily make your ears healthier. Always speak with your physician about any supplements you use because getting too little or too much of these elements can be bad for you.
- Nutrients are essential: Your diet will have an impact on the health of your hearing. Naturally, your hearing will be helped by a healthy diet. But beyond that, we can definitely see how malnutrition could cause problems like tinnitus. And with people who are lacking the vital vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they need, this is particularly true.
- Get your hearing tested professionally: If you’re dealing with hearing loss or tinnitus, get your hearing checked. We can help you determine what type and degree of hearing loss you’re dealing with and how to best address it.
- Protecting your ears takes many strategies: As reported by this research, eating a healthy diet can help reduce your susceptibility to tinnitus and other inner ear conditions. That doesn’t mean you’re no longer at risk. It just gives you better odds of preventing ear conditions. You’ll need a more comprehensive approach if you truly want to be protected from the risk of tinnitus. This may mean wearing earmuffs or earplugs to ensure volume levels stay safe.
Real life doesn’t always echo the research
While this is exciting research, it’s significant to note that there’s more to be said on the matter. More research must be conducted on this subject to verify these conclusions, or to refine them, or dispute them. How much of this connection is causal and how much is correlational is still something that needs to be identified, for example.
So we’re not implying that tinnitus can be stopped by a B12 shot alone. It could mean using a multi-faceted approach in order to avoid tinnitus from the start. One of those facets can definitely be diet. But it’s essential that you take steps to protect your hearing and don’t forget about proven strategies.
If you’re suffering from tinnitus, give us a call. We can help.