You walk into the kitchen and you find a snack. Are you craving a salty treat… maybe some crackers? Chips sound good! Hold up. Maybe this leftover slice of cheesecake.
Actually, maybe you should just have a banana. A banana is a healthier choice after all.
Everything is interrelated in the human body. So it’s probably not a big surprise that your diet can impact your ears. For instance, high sodium intake can raise 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 symptoms.
Your diet and tinnitus
Research published in Ear and Hearing, the official journal of the American Auditory Society, observed a wide variety of people and took a close look at their diets. Your risk of specific inner ear disorders, including tinnitus, increases or diminishes depending on what you eat. And, according to the research, a lack of vitamin B12, in particular, could increase your potential for developing tinnitus.
There were other nutrients besides B12 that were linked to tinnitus symptoms. Your chance of developing tinnitus also increases if your diet is too rich 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 seemed to decrease the likelihood of developing tinnitus. Needless to say, low-fat diets that were high in fruits, vegetables, and meats also appeared fairly good for your ears.
So should you make a change to your diet?
You would have to have an extremely deficient diet in order for that to be the cause, so modifying your diet alone likely won’t have a significant impact. Other problems, like exposure to loud sound, are far more likely to affect your hearing. But your general health depends on a healthy diet.
This research has uncovered some practical and meaningful insights:
- Protecting your ears takes many strategies: As reported by this study, eating a healthy diet can help reduce your susceptibility to tinnitus and other inner ear ailments. But that doesn’t mean the overall risk has gone away. It simply means that your ears are a bit more robust. You’ll need a more comprehensive approach if you really want to be protected from the chances of tinnitus. This will often mean safeguarding your hearing from loud noise by using earplugs or earmuffs
- Nutrients are important: Your general hearing health is going to be impacted by what you eat. It certainly seems as if a generally healthy diet will be good for your ears. But beyond that, we can definitely see how malnutrition could lead to problems such as tinnitus. And with people who are lacking the vital 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. You will be more susceptible to tinnitus if you go below this level. 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 detrimental to your hearing, so always speak to your doctor about any supplements you consume.
- 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 degree of hearing loss you’re coping with and how to best address it.
Real life doesn’t always echo the research
And, finally, it’s important to note that, while this research is exciting and interesting, it’s not the last word on the subject. More research needs to be conducted on this subject to verify these conclusions, or to improve them, or challenge them. We’re not sure, for instance, how much of this connection is causal or correlational.
So we’re not suggesting that tinnitus can be stopped by a B12 shot alone. Keeping that ringing in your ears from surfacing in the first place could 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 techniques, and that you focus on protecting your hearing health as much as you can.
If you’re experiencing tinnitus, give us a call. We can help.