You walk into the kitchen to find a snack. Do you want something salty… how about crackers? Chips sound good! There’s a leftover piece of cheesecake that would be delicious.
On second thought, maybe you should just have a banana. After all, a banana is a much healthier choice.
Everything is interconnected in the human body. So the fact that your diet can affect your ears shouldn’t come as a surprise. For instance, high sodium intake can elevate blood pressure and could make tinnitus symptoms more noticeable. Research is verifying this notion, suggesting that your diet could have a strong impact on the manifestation of tinnitus symptoms.
Your diet and tinnitus
A study 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 might increase or diminish your vulnerability to some inner ear disorders, tinnitus among them. And your chance of getting tinnitus increases, particularly when your diet is lacking vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 wasn’t the only nutrient that was connected with tinnitus symptoms. Consuming too much calcium, iron, or fat could increase your chances of developing tinnitus as well.
And there’s more. The researchers also reported that dietary patterns may also trigger tinnitus symptoms. In particular, diets high in protein seemed to decrease the risk of developing tinnitus. Needless to say, low-fat diets that were high in fruits, vegetables, and meats also seemed pretty good for your ears.
Does this suggest you should change your diet?
Diet alone isn’t likely to drastically change your hearing, and actually, you’d probably have to have a fairly severe deficiency for this to be the cause. Your hearing is far more likely to be impacted by other factors, like exposure to loud sound. That said, you should try to keep a healthy diet for your overall health.
This research has uncovered some practical and meaningful insights:
- Nutrients are essential: Your diet is going to have an impact on your hearing health. Obviously, your hearing will be benefited by a balanced diet. So it’s not difficult to see how issues such as tinnitus can be a result of poor nutrition. This can be especially important to note when individuals aren’t taking in the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that they need.
- Quantities vary: Certainly, if you want to keep your ears healthy you need a certain amount of B12 in your diet. Getting less than that could increase your susceptibility to tinnitus. 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 detrimental to your hearing, so always speak with your doctor about any supplements you consume.
- Protecting your ears takes many strategies: As reported by this research, 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 just means that your ears are a bit more resilient. So if you want to lower the risk of tinnitus even further, you’ll have to take a comprehensive approach to protect your hearing. This may mean using earmuffs or earplugs to ensure noise levels remain safe.
- Get your hearing tested professionally: Come in and get your hearing tested if you’re experiencing hearing loss or tinnitus. We will be able to help you determine (and properly manage) any hearing loss.
Real life doesn’t always mirror the research
While this is exciting research, it’s important to note that there’s more to be said on the subject. In order to confirm and improve the scope of these results, more research will still have to be carried out. How much of this relationship is causal and how much is correlational is still something that needs to be identified, for example.
So we’re a long way from claiming that a vitamin B12 shot will stop tinnitus. It might mean using a multi-faceted strategy in order to avoid tinnitus from the start. One of those facets can certainly 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, contact us. We can help.