You’re feeling hungry so you look in your fridge for a little bite to eat. Do you want something salty… what about crackers? Potato chips sound good! Hold up. Maybe this leftover piece of cheesecake.
On second thought, maybe you should just have a banana. A banana is a healthier option after all.
With the human body, everything is interconnected. 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 instance, it can elevate your blood pressure and that can escalate your tinnitus symptoms. Recent research is suggesting that diet can have a direct influence on the development of tinnitus symptoms.
Tinnitus and your diet
A study 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 shows that what you eat may increase or diminish your vulnerability to some inner ear disorders, tinnitus among them. And, according to the research, a lack of vitamin B12, particularly, could raise your potential for developing tinnitus.
There were nutrients other than B12 that were connected 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 impacted by dietary patterns. For example, your likelihood 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?
Diet by itself isn’t likely to drastically change your hearing, and actually, you’d most likely have to have a fairly significant deficiency for this to be the cause. Your hearing is far more likely to be affected by other things, like exposure to loud sound. That said, you should try to maintain a healthy diet for your general health.
This research has discovered some practical and meaningful insights:
- Nutrients are essential: Your diet will have an effect on your hearing health. Obviously, your hearing will be helped by a balanced diet. But more than that, we can easily see how malnutrition could lead to issues such as tinnitus. And with people who are lacking the essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they need, this is particularly true.
- Safeguarding your ears takes many strategies: The danger of tinnitus and other inner ear conditions can be lowered by eating a healthy diet, according to this study. But that doesn’t mean the entire risk has gone away. It simply means that your ears are a bit more robust. So if you want to lower the risk of tinnitus even further, you’ll have to take an inclusive approach to safeguard your ears. This will often mean safeguarding your ears from loud noise by wearing earplugs or earmuffs
- Quantities vary: Certainly, if you want to keep your hearing 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 simply because you get enough B12. Getting too little or too much of these elements could be harmful to your hearing, so always speak with 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 hearing loss or tinnitus. We can help you figure out what type and level of hearing loss you’re dealing with and how to best address it.
Research is one thing, real life is another
And, lastly, it’s significant to note that, while this research is impressive and fascinating, it isn’t the last word on the matter. In order to validate and sharpen the scope of these conclusions, more research will still need to be done. How much of this connection is causal and how much is correlational is still something that needs to be established, for example.
So we’re a long way from claiming that a vitamin B12 shot will stop tinnitus. It may mean using a multi-faceted approach in order to avoid tinnitus from the start. One of those facets can certainly be diet. But it’s crucial that you don’t forget about proven methods, and that you focus on safeguarding your hearing health as much as possible.
If you’re experiencing tinnitus, contact us. We can help.