You go into the kitchen and you find a snack. Do you want something salty… what about crackers? Chips sound good! There’s a leftover slice of cheesecake that would be delightful.
Perhaps you should just opt for a banana on second thought. After all, a banana is a much healthier option.
With the human body, everything is connected. So the fact that what you eat can affect your ears shouldn’t be surprising. For example, too much sodium can elevate blood pressure and could make tinnitus symptoms more pronounced. Current research is indicating that diet can have a direct impact on the development of tinnitus symptoms.
Tinnitus and your diet
Research published in Ear and Hearing, the official journal of the American Auditory Society, sampled all kinds of people and took a close look at their diets. The data shows that what you eat could increase or diminish your vulnerability to some inner ear conditions, tinnitus among them. And, according to the research, a lack of vitamin B12, particularly, could increase your potential for getting tinnitus.
There were other nutrients besides B12 that were connected with tinnitus symptoms. Your chance of developing tinnitus also increases if your diet is too high in fat, calcium, and iron.
That isn’t all. The researchers also noted that dietary patterns may also cause tinnitus symptoms. In particular, diets high in protein seemed to reduce the risk of developing tinnitus. It also seemed that diets low in fat and high in fruits and veggies had a beneficial impact on your hearing.
So should you make a change to your diet?
You would have to have a seriously deficient diet in order for that to be the cause, so modifying your diet alone probably won’t have a significant impact. Other problems, like exposure to loud noise, are much more likely to impact your hearing. That said, you should try to sustain 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 the health of your hearing. It certainly seems like a generally healthy diet will be good for your ears. So it isn’t hard to see how problems such as tinnitus can be a result of poor nutrition. This can be particularly important to take note of when people aren’t getting the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that they need.
- Safeguarding your ears takes many strategies: As reported by this study, eating a healthy diet can help lower your susceptibility to tinnitus and other inner ear ailments. But that doesn’t mean the overall risk has disappeared. It just means that your ears are a little more resilient. So if you want to reduce the chance of tinnitus even further, you’ll have to take a comprehensive approach to safeguard your ears. This will often mean protecting your ears from loud noise by using earplugs or earmuffs
- Quantities vary: Sure, you need a certain amount of vitamin B12 (for instance) to keep your ears healthy. Getting less than that could increase your susceptibility to tinnitus. But getting more vitamin B12 won’t necessarily make your ears healthier. Always talk to your doctor about any supplements you use because getting too little or too much of these elements can be unhealthy.
- Always get your hearing checked by a professional: If you’re dealing with hearing loss or tinnitus, get your hearing tested. We will help you figure out what type and degree of hearing loss you’re coping with and how to best address it.
Real life doesn’t always mirror the research
And, lastly, it’s important to note that, while this research is exciting and interesting, it isn’t the final word on the topic. More research needs to be conducted on this subject to confirm these findings, or to refine them, or challenge them. We’re not sure, for example, how much of this relationship is causal or correlational.
So we’re not implying that tinnitus can be eliminated by a B12 shot alone. 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, sure (eat that banana). But it’s important that you don’t forget about proven methods, and that you focus on protecting your hearing health as much as you can.
If you’re suffering from tinnitus, give us a call. We can help.