You go into the kitchen to find a bite to eat. Will it be something salty… what about crackers? Chips sound good! Hold up. Maybe this leftover slice of cheesecake.
Actually, maybe you should just have a banana. Of course, a banana is a much healthier option.
Everything is interconnected in the human body. So maybe it’s not a big surprise that what you eat can affect your ears. 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 idea, suggesting that what you eat could 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 all kinds of people and looked closely at their diets. The data suggests that your diet may increase or diminish your susceptibility to some inner ear disorders, tinnitus among them. And, according to the research, a lack of vitamin B12, in particular, could raise your potential for getting tinnitus.
There were other nutrients besides B12 that were linked to tinnitus symptoms. Consuming too much calcium, iron, or fat could raise your risk of developing tinnitus as well.
That isn’t all. The researchers also reported that dietary patterns could also bring about tinnitus symptoms. 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.
So should you make a change to your diet?
Diet by itself isn’t likely to significantly change your hearing, and in fact, you’d most likely have to have a pretty severe deficiency for this to be the cause. Other issues, like exposure to loud noise, are much more likely to affect your hearing. But your general health depends on a healthy diet.
There are a couple of meaningful and useful insights that we can take from this research:
- Nutrients are important: Your overall hearing health is going to be impacted by your diet. Clearly, your hearing will be benefited by a healthy diet. So it isn’t difficult to see how issues like tinnitus can be an outcome of poor nutrition. And with people who are lacking the vital vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they need, this is particularly true.
- Protecting your ears takes many approaches: The risk of tinnitus and other inner ear disorders can be reduced by eating a healthy diet, according to this study. That doesn’t mean you’re not still at risk. It just gives you better odds of avoiding ear conditions. So if you want to reduce the risk of tinnitus even further, you’ll have to take a comprehensive approach to protect your hearing. This will often mean safeguarding your ears from loud noise by using earplugs or earmuffs
- Get your hearing tested professionally: If you’re dealing with hearing loss or tinnitus, have your hearing examined. We can help you determine (and properly address) any hearing loss.
- Quantities vary: Certainly, if you want to keep your hearing healthy you need a certain amount of B12 in your diet. You will be more vulnerable to tinnitus if you go below this level. But getting more vitamin B12 won’t necessarily make your ears healthier. Always talk to your doctor about any supplements you use because getting too little or too much of these elements can be bad for you.
Research is one thing, actual life is another
And, finally, it’s significant to note that, while this research is impressive and fascinating, it’s not the final word on the subject. In order to validate and sharpen the scope of these results, more research will still need to be carried out. How much of this connection is causal and how much is correlational is still something that needs to be identified, for instance.
So we’re far from saying a vitamin B12 shot will stop tinnitus. Keeping that ringing in your ears from surfacing from the start will probably mean taking a multi-faceted approach. One of those facets can definitely be diet. But it’s essential that you take measures to protect your hearing and don’t forget about proven methods.
If you’re experiencing tinnitus, give us a call. We can help.