You’re feeling hungry so you go to your fridge for a little bite to eat. Are you craving a salty treat… what about crackers? Chips sound good! Wait. Maybe this leftover piece of cheesecake.
Actually, maybe you should just eat a banana. A banana is a healthier option after all.
Everything is interrelated in the human body. So the fact that what you eat can impact your ears shouldn’t be surprising. For example, high sodium intake can increase blood pressure and could make tinnitus symptoms more pronounced. Recent research is suggesting that diet can have a direct influence on the development of tinnitus symptoms.
Your diet and tinnitus
A study published in Ear and Hearing, the official publication of the American Auditory Society, observed a wide variety of people and looked closely at their diets. Your danger of specific inner ear disorders, including tinnitus, increases or diminishes based on what you eat. And your chance of developing tinnitus increases, particularly when your diet is lacking vitamin B12.
There were nutrients other than B12 that were linked to tinnitus symptoms. Eating too much calcium, iron, or fat could increase your risk of developing tinnitus as well.
And there’s more. The researchers also reported that dietary patterns could also cause tinnitus symptoms. Particularly, diets high in protein appeared to decrease the likelihood of developing tinnitus. Needless to say, low-fat diets that were high in fruits, vegetables, and meats also appeared pretty good for your ears.
So should you make a change to your diet?
You would need to have a seriously deficient diet in order for that to be the cause, so modifying your diet alone likely won’t have a significant effect. Your hearing is far more likely to be affected by other factors, like exposure to loud noise. Having said that, you should try to sustain a healthy diet for your general health.
There are several substantive and practical insights that we can get from this research:
- Nutrients are important: Your overall hearing health is going to be effected by what you eat. It certainly seems like a generally healthy diet will be good for your ears. But beyond that, we can easily see how malnutrition could cause problems like tinnitus. This can be particularly important to take note of when individuals aren’t getting the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that they require.
- Safeguarding your ears takes many approaches: Based on this research, eating a good diet can help lower your vulnerability to tinnitus and other inner ear conditions. That doesn’t mean you’re not still at risk. It simply gives you better odds of avoiding ear conditions. So if you want to lower the risk of tinnitus even more, you’ll have to take an inclusive approach to protect your hearing. This may mean wearing earmuffs or earplugs to ensure volume levels remain safe.
- Get your hearing tested professionally: Come in and get your hearing tested if you’re experiencing hearing loss or tinnitus. We can help you figure out what type and degree of hearing loss you’re dealing with and how to best manage it.
- Quantities vary: Sure, you need a certain amount of vitamin B12 (for example) to keep your ears healthy. You will be more vulnerable to tinnitus if you go below this level. 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 damaging to your hearing, so always speak with your doctor about any supplements you take.
Research is one thing, real life is another
And, finally, it’s significant to note that, while this research is exciting and fascinating, it’s not the final word on the subject. In order to verify and improve the scope of these conclusions, more research will still have to be done. How much of this relationship 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 might mean taking 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 take measures to protect your hearing and don’t forget about proven strategies.
We can help, so if you’re suffering from hearing issues, call us.