You’re feeling hungry so you go to your fridge for a snack. Do you want something salty… what about crackers? Oooo, potato chips! There’s a leftover piece of cheesecake that would be delicious.
On second thought, maybe you should just eat a banana. A banana is a healthier choice after all.
With the human body, everything is connected. So it’s probably not a big surprise that your diet can affect your ears. For instance, too much sodium can raise blood pressure and could make tinnitus symptoms more noticeable. Current research is suggesting that diet can have a direct influence on the development of tinnitus symptoms.
Your diet and tinnitus
Research published in Ear and Hearing, the official publication of the American Auditory Society, sampled a wide variety of people and looked closely at their diets. The data shows that what you eat could increase or diminish your susceptibility to certain inner ear disorders, tinnitus among them. And, based on the research, a deficiency of vitamin B12, particularly, could raise your potential for developing tinnitus.
Vitamin B12 wasn’t the only nutrient that was associated with tinnitus symptoms. Consuming too much calcium, iron, or fat could raise your chances of developing tinnitus too.
That isn’t all. The researchers also reported that dietary patterns could also cause tinnitus symptoms. Particularly, diets high in protein appeared to decrease the risk of developing tinnitus. Needless to say, low-fat diets that were high in fruits, vegetables, and meats also appeared fairly 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 probably won’t have a substantial impact. Your hearing is much more likely to be affected by other factors, such as exposure to loud noise. But your general health depends on a healthy diet.
This research has discovered some practical and meaningful insights:
- Always get your hearing checked by a professional: Come in and get your hearing checked if you’re experiencing tinnitus or hearing loss. We will help you figure out what type and degree of hearing loss you’re coping with and how to best address it.
- Nutrients are essential: Your total hearing health will be impacted by what you eat. It sure seems as if a generally healthy diet will be good for your ears. So it isn’t difficult to see how issues like tinnitus can be a result of poor nutrition. This can be particularly important to note when people aren’t taking in the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that they need.
- Protecting your ears takes many strategies: As reported by this study, eating a healthy diet can help reduce your vulnerability to tinnitus and other inner ear ailments. But that doesn’t mean the overall risk has disappeared. It simply means that your ears are a bit more robust. So if you want to lower the risk of tinnitus even more, you’ll have to take an inclusive approach to safeguard your hearing. This might mean wearing earmuffs or earplugs to make sure noise levels remain safe.
- 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 isn’t necessarily going to make your ears healthier. Always speak with your doctor about any supplements you use because getting too little or too much of these elements can be unhealthy.
Research is one thing, real life is another
While this is inspiring research, it’s significant to note that there’s more to be said on the subject. More research needs to be conducted on this subject to validate these findings, or to refine them, or dispute them. How much of this connection is causal and how much is correlational is still something that needs to be established, for instance.
So we’re not suggesting that tinnitus can be eliminated by a B12 shot alone. It might mean taking a multi-faceted approach in order to prevent tinnitus in the first place. One of those facets can definitely be diet. But it’s essential to take measures to protect your hearing and don’t forget about established methods.
If you’re experiencing tinnitus, give us a call. We can help.