You walk into the kitchen to look for a snack. Will it be something salty… how about crackers? Oooo, potato chips! Hold up. Maybe this leftover piece of cheesecake.
Maybe you should just go with a banana on second thought. A banana is a healthier option after all.
When it comes to the human body, everything is connected. So the fact that what you eat can affect your ears shouldn’t be surprising. For example, high sodium intake can increase blood pressure and could make tinnitus symptoms more pronounced. Recent research is suggesting that diet can have a strong influence on the development of tinnitus.
Tinnitus and your diet
The official journal of the American Auditory Society, called Ear and Hearing, published research that observed the diets of a wide variety of individuals. Your danger of specific inner ear disorders, including tinnitus, increases or diminishes based on what you eat. And your chance of getting tinnitus increases, particularly when your diet is lacking vitamin B12.
There were other nutrients besides B12 that were linked to tinnitus symptoms. Consuming too much calcium, iron, or fat could increase your chances of developing tinnitus as well.
That isn’t all. The researchers also noted that dietary patterns could also cause tinnitus symptoms. In particular, diets high in protein seemed to decrease the likelihood of developing tinnitus. It also seemed that diets low in fat and high in fruits and veggies had a beneficial impact on your hearing.
So should you make a change to your diet?
Diet by itself isn’t likely to dramatically change your hearing, and in fact, you’d most likely have to have a fairly significant deficiency for this to be the cause. Other problems, like exposure to loud sound, are much more likely to affect your hearing. That said, you should try to keep a healthy diet for your general health.
There are several substantive and useful insights that we can get from this research:
- Get your hearing tested professionally: If you’re dealing with hearing loss or tinnitus, get your hearing examined. We can help you determine what type and degree of hearing loss you’re dealing with and how to best address it.
- Nutrients are essential: Your overall hearing health will be impacted by what you eat. It sure seems as if a generally healthy diet will be good for your ears. But beyond that, we can easily see how malnutrition can lead to issues such as tinnitus. And with individuals who are lacking the essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they need, this is especially true.
- 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 vulnerability to tinnitus. But getting more vitamin B12 isn’t necessarily going to make your ears healthier. Always speak with your doctor about any supplements you take because getting too little or too much of these elements can be bad for you.
- Protecting your ears takes many approaches: As reported by this research, eating a good diet can help lower your susceptibility to tinnitus and other inner ear ailments. But that doesn’t mean the overall risk has disappeared. It simply 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 will frequently mean safeguarding your ears from loud noise by wearing earplugs or earmuffs
Research is one thing, actual life is another
And, lastly, it’s important to note that, while this research is exciting and fascinating, it isn’t the last word on the topic. More research needs to be conducted on this subject to verify these results, or to refine them, or dispute them. We’re not sure, for example, how much of this connection is causal or correlational.
So we’re not suggesting that tinnitus can be prevented by a B12 shot alone. Keeping that ringing in your ears from surfacing from the start could mean taking a multi-faceted approach. One of those facets can definitely be diet. But it’s crucial that you don’t forget about tried and tested strategies, and that you focus on safeguarding your hearing health as much as you can.
If you’re suffering from tinnitus, contact us. We can help.