You go into the kitchen to find a snack. How about a salty treat… how about crackers? Potato chips sound good! Wait. Maybe this leftover slice of cheesecake.
Perhaps you should just opt for a banana on second thought. A banana is a healthier option obviously.
When it comes to the human body, everything is interconnected. So it’s probably not a huge surprise that your diet can affect your ears. If you eat a high sodium diet, for example, it can raise your blood pressure and that can increase your tinnitus symptoms. Recent research is indicating that diet can have a direct influence on the development of tinnitus symptoms.
Tinnitus and your diet
Research published in Ear and Hearing, the official journal of the American Auditory Society, observed all kinds of people and took a close look at their diets. The data shows that your diet might increase or diminish your vulnerability to specific inner ear disorders, tinnitus among them. And, according to the research, a lack of vitamin B12, in particular, could increase your potential for getting tinnitus.
There were other nutrients besides B12 that were linked to tinnitus symptoms. Consuming too much calcium, iron, or fat could increase your chances of developing tinnitus as well.
And there’s more. This research also showed that tinnitus symptoms can also be influenced by dietary patterns. In particular, diets high in protein appeared to reduce the likelihood of developing tinnitus. Needless to say, low-fat diets that were high in fruits, vegetables, and meats also appeared fairly good for your ears.
Does this suggest you should change your diet?
You would need to have an extremely deficient diet in order for that to be the cause, so modifying your diet alone probably won’t have a substantial impact. Other problems, like exposure to loud noise, are much more likely to impact your hearing. That said, you should try to keep a healthy diet for your overall health.
There are a couple of substantive and practical insights that we can get from this research:
- Quantities vary: Sure, you need a certain amount of vitamin B12 (for example) to keep your hearing healthy. You will be more vulnerable to tinnitus if you get less than this. But your ears won’t necessarily be healthy simply because you get enough B12. Always consult your doctor about any supplements you take because getting too little or too much of these elements can be bad for you.
- Safeguarding your ears takes many approaches: Based on this research, eating a healthy diet can help reduce your vulnerability to tinnitus and other inner ear ailments. But that doesn’t mean the entire risk has disappeared. It simply means that your ears are a little more resilient. You’ll need a more comprehensive approach if you really want to be protected from the chances of tinnitus. This might mean wearing earmuffs or earplugs to make sure noise levels stay safe.
- Nutrients are important: Your diet is going to have an impact on your hearing health. Naturally, your hearing will be helped by a balanced diet. But beyond that, we can definitely see how malnutrition can lead to issues such as tinnitus. This can be especially important to note when individuals aren’t taking in the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that they require.
- Get your hearing tested professionally: If you’re dealing with hearing loss or tinnitus, get your hearing examined. We can help you determine (and properly address) any hearing loss.
Real life doesn’t always mirror the research
And, finally, it’s significant to note that, while this research is exciting and interesting, it isn’t the last word on the matter. In order to verify and sharpen the scope of these results, more research will still need to be done. We don’t know, for instance, how much of this relationship is causal or correlational.
So we’re not suggesting that tinnitus can be prevented by a B12 shot alone. Keeping that ringing in your ears from appearing in the first place may mean taking a multi-faceted approach. One of those facets can definitely be diet. But it’s essential that you take measures to protect your hearing and don’t forget about established methods.
If you’re suffering from tinnitus, give us a call. We can help.