You’re feeling hungry so you go to your fridge for a little bite to eat. How about a salty treat… maybe some crackers? Potato chips sound good! There’s a leftover slice of cheesecake that would be delicious.
Actually, maybe you should just have a banana. After all, a banana is a much better health option.
When it comes to the human body, everything is interconnected. So it’s probably not a big surprise that your diet can affect your ears. If you consume a diet high in sodium, for example, it can elevate your blood pressure which can increase your tinnitus symptoms. Current research is indicating that diet can have a direct impact on the development of tinnitus.
Tinnitus and your diet
A study published in Ear and Hearing, the official journal of the American Auditory Society, sampled a wide variety of people and took a close look at their diets. Your risk of certain inner ear disorders, including tinnitus, increases or diminishes based on what you eat. And, according to the research, a deficiency of vitamin B12, particularly, could increase your potential for developing tinnitus.
There were other nutrients besides B12 that were linked to tinnitus symptoms. Eating too much calcium, iron, or fat could raise your chances of developing tinnitus too.
That isn’t all. This research also revealed that tinnitus symptoms can also be impacted by dietary patterns. In particular, diets high in protein appeared to decrease the likelihood of developing tinnitus. It also appeared that diets low in fat and high in fruits and veggies had a positive impact on your hearing.
Does this mean you need to change your diet?
Diet by itself isn’t likely to significantly change your hearing, and actually, you’d probably have to have a fairly severe deficiency for this to be the cause. Other problems, like exposure to loud noise, are much more likely to affect your hearing. Having said that, you should try to sustain a healthy diet for your general health.
There are a few meaningful and practical insights that we can take from this research:
- Protecting your ears takes many approaches: According to this study, eating a good diet can help reduce your susceptibility to tinnitus and other inner ear ailments. But that doesn’t mean the entire risk has gone away. It just means that your ears are a little more robust. You’ll need a more extensive approach if you really want to be protected from the chances of tinnitus. This will frequently mean safeguarding your ears from loud noise by wearing earplugs or earmuffs
- Get your hearing tested professionally: Come in and get your hearing checked if you’re experiencing tinnitus or hearing loss. We can help you determine (and properly address) any hearing loss.
- 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 getting more vitamin B12 isn’t necessarily going to make your ears healthier. Getting too little or too much of these elements could be harmful to your hearing, so always talk to your doctor about any supplements you take.
- Nutrients are essential: Your diet will have an impact on your hearing health. It sure seems as if a generally healthy diet will be good for your ears. But beyond that, we can easily see how malnutrition could lead to issues like tinnitus. This can be especially important to take note of when individuals aren’t taking in the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that they require.
Research is one thing, real life is another
While this is exciting research, it’s significant to mention that there’s more to be said on the subject. More research needs to be carried out on this subject to verify these conclusions, or to refine them, or challenge them. We don’t know, for example, how much of this relationship 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 may mean taking a multi-faceted approach. Diet can be one of those prongs, sure (eat that banana). But it’s essential to take measures to protect your hearing and don’t forget about established methods.
If you’re experiencing tinnitus, give us a call. We can help.