You go into the kitchen to find a snack. Are you craving a salty treat… how about 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 obviously.
With the human body, everything is connected. So the fact that what you eat can impact your ears shouldn’t come as a surprise. If you consume a diet high in sodium, for example, it can raise your blood pressure and that can escalate your tinnitus symptoms. Current research is suggesting that diet can have a strong impact on the development of tinnitus.
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 suggests that what you eat could increase or diminish your susceptibility to certain inner ear conditions, tinnitus among them. And, according to the research, a deficiency of vitamin B12, in particular, could increase your potential for developing tinnitus.
Vitamin B12 wasn’t the only nutrient that was associated with tinnitus symptoms. Your chance of getting tinnitus also increases if your diet is too rich in fat, calcium, and iron.
And there’s more. This research also revealed that tinnitus symptoms can also be influenced by dietary patterns. For instance, your risk of developing tinnitus will be reduced by a diet high in protein. Not surprisingly, low-fat diets that were high in fruits, vegetables, and meats also seemed fairly good for your ears.
Does this mean you should change your diet?
You would have to have a seriously deficient diet in order for that to be the cause, so changing your diet alone likely won’t have a substantial impact. Other problems, such as exposure to loud sound, are far more likely to affect your hearing. But your general health depends on a healthy diet.
There are some meaningful and practical insights that we can get from this research:
- Nutrients are essential: Your overall hearing health is going to be effected by what you eat. Clearly, your hearing will be benefited by a healthy diet. But beyond that, we can definitely see how malnutrition could lead to issues like tinnitus. And with individuals who are lacking the vital vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they need, this is particularly true.
- Quantities vary: Sure, you need a certain amount of vitamin B12 (for instance) to keep your hearing healthy. Getting less than that could increase your vulnerability to tinnitus. But getting more vitamin B12 won’t necessarily make your ears healthier. Always speak with your doctor about any supplements you take because getting too little or too much of these nutrients can be unhealthy.
- Always get your hearing checked by a professional: Come in and get your hearing checked if you’re experiencing tinnitus or hearing loss. We will help you figure out what type and level of hearing loss you’re coping with and how to best manage it.
- Safeguarding your ears takes many approaches: The danger of tinnitus and other inner ear conditions can be reduced by eating a healthy diet, according to this research. But that doesn’t mean the overall risk has disappeared. It simply gives you better odds of avoiding ear conditions. You’ll need a more comprehensive approach if you truly want to be protected from the chances of tinnitus. This might mean using earmuffs or earplugs to ensure volume levels stay safe.
Research is one thing, actual life is another
And, finally, it’s significant to note that, while this research is exciting and interesting, it’s not the final word on the topic. More research needs to be conducted on this topic to validate these findings, or to refine them, or challenge them. We don’t know, for instance, 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 in the first place will probably mean taking a multi-faceted approach. One of those facets can certainly be diet. But it’s important that you don’t forget about proven methods, and that you focus on protecting your hearing health as much as possible.
If you’re suffering from tinnitus, contact us. We can help.