You’re feeling hungry so you look in your fridge for a snack. How about a salty treat… maybe some crackers? Potato chips sound good! There’s a leftover slice of cheesecake that would be delicious.
On second thought, maybe you should just have a banana. Of course, a banana is a much better health option.
Everything is interrelated in the human body. So the fact that your diet can impact your ears shouldn’t be surprising. If you eat a high sodium diet, for example, it can elevate your blood pressure and that can escalate your tinnitus symptoms. Research is verifying this notion, indicating that what you eat could have a strong influence on the manifestation of tinnitus symptoms.
Tinnitus and your diet
The official publication of the American Auditory Society, called Ear and Hearing, published research that looked at the diets of a wide variety of individuals. The data suggests that your diet could increase or diminish your susceptibility to some inner ear disorders, tinnitus among them. And your risk of developing tinnitus increases, especially when your diet is lacking vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 wasn’t the only nutrient that was associated with tinnitus symptoms. Eating too much calcium, iron, or fat could raise your chances of getting tinnitus too.
That isn’t all. The researchers also noted that dietary patterns may also trigger tinnitus symptoms. Particularly, diets high in protein seemed to reduce the risk of developing tinnitus. It also seemed that diets low in fat and high in fruits and veggies had a positive effect 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 pretty severe deficiency for this to be the cause. Your hearing is far more likely to be affected by other things, like exposure to loud noise. But your overall health depends on a healthy diet.
There are several meaningful and useful insights that we can get from this research:
- Nutrients are essential: Your total hearing health will be effected by your diet. It certainly seems as if a generally healthy diet will be good for your ears. But beyond that, we can definitely see how malnutrition can lead to problems like tinnitus. And with people who are lacking the vital vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they need, this is particularly true.
- Always get your hearing checked by a professional: If you’re suffering from hearing loss or tinnitus, have your hearing examined. We will be able to help you figure out (and properly address) any hearing loss.
- Protecting your ears takes many strategies: The risk of tinnitus and other inner ear disorders can be decreased by eating a healthy diet, according to this research. That doesn’t mean you’re no longer at risk. It simply means that your ears are a little more resilient. So if you want to reduce the risk of tinnitus even more, you’ll have to take an inclusive approach to safeguard your hearing. This will frequently mean protecting your ears from loud noise by wearing earplugs or earmuffs
- Quantities vary: Certainly, if you want to keep your ears healthy you need a certain amount of B12 in your diet. Going below that could increase your susceptibility to tinnitus. But your ears won’t necessarily be healthy just because you get enough B12. Always talk to your doctor about any supplements you take because getting too little or too much of these elements can be bad for you.
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 verify and sharpen the scope of these results, more research will still need to be done. We’re not sure, for example, how much of this relationship is causal or correlational.
So we’re not implying that tinnitus can be eliminated by a B12 shot alone. It may mean using a multi-faceted strategy in order to avoid tinnitus in the first place. Diet can be one of those facets, certainly (eat that banana). But it’s crucial that you take measures to safeguard your hearing and don’t forget about proven methods.
If you’re suffering from tinnitus, give us a call. We can help.