You go into the kitchen and you find a snack. Will it be something salty… how about crackers? Chips sound good! There’s a leftover piece of cheesecake that would be delightful.
Maybe you should just opt for a banana on second thought. Of course, a banana is a much better health option.
Everything is interconnected in the human body. So it’s probably not a huge surprise that your diet can impact your ears. If you eat a diet high in sodium, for example, it can raise your blood pressure which can escalate your tinnitus symptoms. Recent research is suggesting that diet can have a strong impact on the development of tinnitus.
Your diet and tinnitus
The official journal of the American Auditory Society, called Ear and Hearing, published a study that looked at the diets of a wide variety of individuals. The data indicates that your diet may increase or diminish your vulnerability to specific inner ear disorders, tinnitus among them. And your chance of getting tinnitus increases, particularly when your diet is lacking vitamin B12.
There were nutrients other than B12 that were linked to tinnitus symptoms. Your risk of getting tinnitus also increases if your diet is too rich in fat, calcium, and iron.
That’s not all. The researchers also noted that dietary patterns may also trigger tinnitus symptoms. For instance, your likelihood of developing tinnitus will be reduced by a diet high in protein. It also appeared that diets low in fat and high in fruits and veggies had a positive impact on your hearing.
Does this suggest you should change your diet?
You would need to have a seriously deficient diet in order for that to be the cause, so modifying your diet alone probably won’t have a substantial effect. Your hearing is far more likely to be impacted by other factors, like exposure to loud sound. But your general health depends on a healthy diet.
There are a few meaningful and practical insights that we can take from this research:
- Safeguarding your ears takes many strategies: The risk of tinnitus and other inner ear conditions can be decreased by eating a healthy diet, according to this study. That doesn’t mean you’re no longer at risk. It just means that your ears are a bit more robust. So if you want to decrease the risk of tinnitus even further, you’ll have to take a comprehensive approach to protect your hearing. This may mean wearing earmuffs or earplugs to ensure noise levels remain safe.
- 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 get less than this. But getting more vitamin B12 won’t necessarily make your ears healthier. Getting too little or too much of these elements could be detrimental to your hearing, so always talk to your doctor about any supplements you take.
- Nutrients are essential: Your diet will have an effect on the health of your hearing. Clearly, your hearing will be helped by a balanced diet. But beyond that, we can definitely see how malnutrition could cause problems like tinnitus. This can be particularly important to take note of when people aren’t getting the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that they require.
- Get your hearing tested professionally: If you’re dealing with hearing loss or tinnitus, have your hearing examined. We will help you determine what type and level of hearing loss you’re coping with and how to best manage it.
Real life doesn’t always mirror the research
And, finally, it’s significant to note that, while this research is impressive and interesting, it isn’t the last word on the matter. In order to confirm and improve the scope of these conclusions, more research will still need to be done. We don’t know, for example, how much of this relationship is causal or correlational.
So we’re far from claiming that a vitamin B12 shot will stop tinnitus. Keeping that ringing in your ears from appearing from the start will probably 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 strategies, and that you pay attention to safeguarding your ear health as much as possible.
If you’re experiencing tinnitus, give us a call. We can help.