You go into the kitchen and you find a snack. How about a salty treat… maybe some crackers? Oooo, chips! Hold up. Maybe this leftover slice of cheesecake.
Actually, maybe you should just eat a banana. A banana is a healthier option obviously.
Everything is interconnected in the human body. So maybe it’s not a huge surprise that your diet can impact your ears. If you consume a diet high in sodium, for instance, it can raise your blood pressure and that can increase your tinnitus symptoms. Research is adding weight to this notion, indicating that your diet could have a direct influence on the development of tinnitus.
Your diet and tinnitus
The official journal of the American Auditory Society, called Ear and Hearing, published a study that looked at the diets of a wide variety of individuals. Your danger of specific inner ear conditions, including tinnitus, increases or diminishes depending on what you eat. 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 raise your chances of developing tinnitus as well.
And there’s more. The researchers also reported that dietary patterns could also trigger tinnitus symptoms. For example, your likelihood of developing tinnitus will be decreased by a diet high in protein. Not surprisingly, low-fat diets that were high in fruits, vegetables, and meats also seemed pretty good for your ears.
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 changing your diet alone probably won’t have a substantial impact. Your hearing is much more likely to be affected by other things, such as exposure to loud noise. But your overall health depends on a healthy diet.
This research has revealed some practical and meaningful insights:
- Nutrients are essential: Your total hearing health is going to be impacted by what you eat. It certainly seems like an overall healthy diet will be good for your ears. But more than that, we can easily see how malnutrition can cause problems like tinnitus. And with people who are lacking the essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they need, this is particularly true.
- Quantities vary: Sure, you require a certain amount of vitamin B12 (for example) to keep your ears healthy. Going below that could increase your vulnerability to tinnitus. But your ears won’t necessarily be healthy just because you get enough B12. Always talk to your physician about any supplements you use because getting too little or too much of these nutrients can be unhealthy.
- Protecting your ears takes many strategies: The risk of tinnitus and other inner ear conditions can be decreased by eating a healthy diet, according to this research. But that doesn’t mean the entire risk has disappeared. It simply means that your ears are a bit more resilient. You’ll need a more comprehensive approach if you truly want to be protected from the risk of tinnitus. This may mean wearing earmuffs or earplugs to make sure volume levels remain safe.
- Always get your hearing checked by a professional: Come in and get your hearing checked if you’re experiencing tinnitus or hearing loss. We can help you figure out (and correctly address) any hearing loss.
Research is one thing, real life is another
While this is exciting research, it’s significant to note that there’s more to be said on the subject. More research needs to be conducted on this topic to validate these conclusions, or to refine them, or challenge them. 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 far from saying a vitamin B12 shot will prevent tinnitus. Keeping that ringing in your ears from appearing from the start may mean taking a multi-faceted approach. Diet is one of those prongs, certainly (eat that banana). But it’s crucial to take measures to safeguard your hearing and don’t forget about proven methods.
If you’re experiencing tinnitus, give us a call. We can help.