You’re feeling hungry so you go to your fridge for a snack. How about a salty treat… maybe some crackers? Potato chips sound good! Hold up. Maybe this leftover slice of cheesecake.
Actually, maybe you should just have a banana. After all, a banana is a much healthier choice.
Everything is interconnected in the human body. So the fact that what you eat can affect your ears shouldn’t come as a surprise. If you consume a high sodium diet, for example, it can elevate your blood pressure which can increase your tinnitus symptoms. Recent research is suggesting that diet can have a direct influence on the development of tinnitus.
Your diet and tinnitus
A study published in Ear and Hearing, the official journal of the American Auditory Society, sampled a wide variety of people and looked closely at their diets. Your risk of specific inner ear disorders, including tinnitus, increases or diminishes based on what you eat. And your risk of getting tinnitus increases, particularly when your diet is lacking vitamin B12.
There were other nutrients besides B12 that were connected with tinnitus symptoms. Eating too much calcium, iron, or fat could increase your chances of developing tinnitus too.
That’s not all. This research also revealed that tinnitus symptoms can also be impacted by dietary patterns. Particularly, diets high in protein seemed to decrease the risk of developing tinnitus. It also seemed that diets low in fat and high in fruits and veggies had a positive impact on your hearing.
Does this mean you should change your diet?
You would need to have an extremely deficient diet in order for that to be the cause, so changing your diet alone probably won’t have a substantial impact. Other problems, such as exposure to loud sound, are far more likely to impact your hearing. But your overall health depends on a healthy diet.
This research has discovered some practical and meaningful insights:
- Protecting your ears takes many approaches: Based on this research, eating a healthy diet can help lower your susceptibility to tinnitus and other inner ear ailments. That doesn’t mean you’re not still at risk. It just means that your ears are a bit more resilient. You’ll need a more comprehensive approach if you really want to be protected from the chances of tinnitus. This will frequently mean protecting your hearing from loud noise by wearing earplugs or earmuffs
- Quantities vary: Certainly, if you want to keep your ears healthy you need a certain amount of B12 in your diet. Getting less than that could increase your susceptibility to tinnitus. But your ears won’t necessarily be healthy just because you get enough B12. Getting too little or too much of these elements could be damaging to your hearing, so always talk to your doctor about any supplements you consume.
- Nutrients are essential: Your total hearing health will be effected by what you eat. It certainly seems as if an overall healthy diet will be good for your ears. So it isn’t hard to see how problems like tinnitus can be a result of poor nutrition. This can be particularly important to take note of when individuals aren’t taking in the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that they require.
- Always get your hearing checked by a professional: Come in and get your hearing checked if you’re experiencing hearing loss or tinnitus. We will be able to help you determine (and correctly address) any hearing loss.
Real life doesn’t always echo the research
While this is inspiring research, it’s significant to note that there’s more to be said on the subject. In order to verify and sharpen the scope of these conclusions, more research will still need to be carried out. 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 far from claiming that a vitamin B12 shot will stop tinnitus. Keeping that ringing in your ears from appearing from the start could mean taking a multi-faceted approach. One of those facets can certainly be diet. But it’s essential that you don’t forget about proven techniques, and that you focus on safeguarding your ear health as much as you can.
If you’re experiencing tinnitus, contact us. We can help.