You go into the kitchen to look for a snack. How about a salty treat… what about crackers? Potato chips sound good! Wait. Maybe this leftover piece of cheesecake.
On second thought, maybe you should just have a banana. Of course, a banana is a much better health choice.
Everything is interrelated 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 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.
Tinnitus and your diet
Research published in Ear and Hearing, the official publication of the American Auditory Society, observed a wide variety of people and took a close look at their diets. The data suggests that your diet may increase or diminish your susceptibility to certain inner ear disorders, tinnitus among them. And your chance of developing tinnitus increases, particularly when your diet is lacking vitamin B12.
There were other nutrients besides B12 that were connected with tinnitus symptoms. Your risk of getting tinnitus also increases if your diet is too high in fat, calcium, and iron.
And there’s more. This research also showed that tinnitus symptoms can also be affected by dietary patterns. In particular, diets high in protein appeared to decrease the likelihood of developing tinnitus. Needless to say, low-fat diets that were high in fruits, vegetables, and meats also appeared pretty good for your ears.
Does this suggest you should change your diet?
Diet alone isn’t likely to drastically change your hearing, and in fact, you’d probably have to have a pretty severe deficiency for this to be the cause. Your hearing is far more likely to be impacted by other things, such as exposure to loud noise. But your general health depends on a healthy diet.
This research has discovered some practical and meaningful insights:
- Protecting your ears takes many approaches: The risk of tinnitus and other inner ear conditions can be decreased by eating a healthy diet, according to this study. But that doesn’t mean the entire risk has gone away. It just gives you better odds of avoiding ear conditions. You’ll need a more extensive approach if you really want to be protected from the chances of tinnitus. This might mean wearing earmuffs or earplugs to guarantee volume levels remain safe.
- Nutrients are important: Your total hearing health is going to be impacted by your diet. Clearly, your hearing will be helped by a healthy diet. So it’s not hard to see how problems such as tinnitus can be an outcome of poor nutrition. This can be especially important to take note of when individuals aren’t getting the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that they require.
- Quantities vary: Sure, you require a certain amount of vitamin B12 (for instance) to keep your ears healthy. You will be more susceptible to tinnitus if you go below this level. But getting more vitamin B12 isn’t necessarily going to make your ears healthier. Always consult your physician about any supplements you use because getting too little or too much of these nutrients can be unhealthy.
- Always get your hearing checked by a professional: If you’re suffering from hearing loss or tinnitus, get your hearing tested. We will be able to help you figure out (and properly manage) any hearing loss.
Research is one thing, actual life is another
While this is exciting research, it’s significant to note that there’s more to be said on the matter. In order to confirm and improve the scope of these conclusions, more research will still have to be carried out. How much of this relationship is causal and how much is correlational is still something that needs to be established, for example.
So we’re not suggesting that tinnitus can be stopped by a B12 shot alone. Keeping that ringing in your ears from appearing from the start will probably mean taking a multi-faceted approach. Diet can be one of those facets, sure (eat that banana). But it’s important that you don’t forget about tried and tested strategies, and that you concentrate on safeguarding your ear health as much as possible.
If you’re suffering from tinnitus, contact us. We can help.