You’re starving so you look in your fridge for a snack. How about a salty treat… what about crackers? Oooo, potato chips! There’s a leftover piece of cheesecake that would be delightful.
Maybe you should just go with a banana on second thought. A banana is a healthier choice obviously.
Everything is interconnected in the human body. So the fact that your diet can impact your ears shouldn’t come as a surprise. For example, high sodium intake can raise blood pressure and could make tinnitus symptoms more noticeable. Research is adding weight to this notion, suggesting that your diet could have a strong impact on the manifestation of tinnitus symptoms.
Tinnitus and your diet
The official publication of the American Auditory Society, called Ear and Hearing, published a study that observed the diets of a wide variety of people. The data suggests 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 connected with tinnitus symptoms. Your chance of developing tinnitus also increases if your diet is too rich in fat, calcium, and iron.
That’s not all. This research also revealed that tinnitus symptoms can also be influenced 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 suggest you should change your diet?
Diet alone isn’t likely to dramatically change your hearing, and actually, you’d most likely have to have a pretty severe deficiency for this to be the cause. Your hearing is much more likely to be affected by other things, such as exposure to loud noise. That said, you should try to keep a healthy diet for your general health.
There are a couple of substantive and useful insights that we can get from this research:
- 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 susceptible to tinnitus if you go below this level. But getting more vitamin B12 won’t necessarily make your ears healthier. Always speak with your physician about any supplements you take because getting too little or too much of these elements can be bad for you.
- Nutrients are important: Your general hearing health will be impacted by what you eat. Clearly, your hearing will be helped by a balanced diet. But beyond that, we can easily see how malnutrition could cause problems like tinnitus. This can be especially important to note when individuals aren’t taking in the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that they need.
- Protecting your ears takes many approaches: According to this study, eating a healthy diet can help reduce your susceptibility to tinnitus and other inner ear conditions. That doesn’t mean you’re not still at risk. It simply means that your ears are a little more resilient. You’ll need a more extensive approach if you really want to be protected from the chances of tinnitus. This will often mean protecting your hearing from loud noise by wearing earplugs or earmuffs
- Always get your hearing checked by a professional: If you’re dealing with hearing loss or tinnitus, get your hearing checked. We will be able to help you determine (and properly treat) any hearing loss.
Research is one thing, actual life is another
While this is exciting research, it’s important to note that there’s more to be said on the subject. In order to verify 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 connection is causal or correlational.
So we’re far from claiming that a vitamin B12 shot will prevent tinnitus. Keeping that ringing in your ears from appearing in the first place could mean taking a multi-faceted approach. Diet can be one of those prongs, certainly (eat that banana). But it’s crucial that you take measures to protect your hearing and don’t forget about proven methods.
If you’re experiencing tinnitus, contact us. We can help.