You walk into the kitchen to look for a bite to eat. Will it be something salty… how about crackers? Potato chips sound good! There’s a leftover slice of cheesecake that would be yummy.
Maybe you should just go with a banana on second thought. A banana is a healthier choice obviously.
Everything is interrelated in the human body. So the fact that your diet can impact your ears shouldn’t come as a surprise. For instance, high sodium intake can raise blood pressure and could make tinnitus symptoms more noticeable. Research is verifying this notion, suggesting that your diet could have a strong influence on the manifestation of tinnitus symptoms.
Your diet and tinnitus
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. Your risk of specific inner ear disorders, including tinnitus, increases or diminishes depending on what you eat. And your chance of developing tinnitus increases, especially when your diet is lacking vitamin B12.
There were nutrients other than B12 that were linked to tinnitus symptoms. Consuming too much calcium, iron, or fat could increase your risk of developing tinnitus as well.
And there’s more. The researchers also noted that dietary patterns could also cause tinnitus symptoms. For instance, your likelihood of developing tinnitus will be decreased by a diet high in protein. It also appeared that diets low in fat and high in fruits and veggies had a beneficial impact on your hearing.
Does this mean you should change your diet?
Diet by itself isn’t likely to significantly change your hearing, and in fact, you’d probably have to have a fairly severe deficiency for this to be the cause. Other problems, such as exposure to loud noise, are much more likely to affect your hearing. But your overall health depends on a healthy diet.
This research has uncovered some practical and meaningful insights:
- Quantities vary: Sure, you need a certain amount of vitamin B12 (for example) to keep your ears healthy. Going below that could increase your vulnerability to tinnitus. But getting more vitamin B12 isn’t necessarily going to make your ears healthier. Always consult your physician about any supplements you take because getting too little or too much of these elements can be bad for you.
- Get your hearing tested professionally: Come in and get your hearing checked if you’re experiencing tinnitus or hearing loss. We can help you figure out what type and degree of hearing loss you’re dealing with and how to best address it.
- Protecting your ears takes many approaches: As reported by this study, eating a good diet can help lower your vulnerability to tinnitus and other inner ear ailments. That doesn’t mean you’re not still at risk. It just means that your ears are a little more resilient. So if you want to decrease the risk of tinnitus even more, you’ll have to take an inclusive approach to protect your hearing. This may mean using earmuffs or earplugs to make sure volume levels remain safe.
- Nutrients are important: Your diet will have an effect on your hearing health. Clearly, your hearing will be benefited by a healthy diet. But beyond that, we can easily see how malnutrition can cause issues like tinnitus. This can be especially important to note when people aren’t getting the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that they need.
Real life doesn’t always mirror the research
And, lastly, it’s significant to note that, while this research is exciting and interesting, it isn’t the final word on the subject. In order to confirm and sharpen the scope of these results, more research will still have to be done. We’re not sure, for example, how much of this connection is causal or correlational.
So we’re a long way from saying a vitamin B12 shot will stop tinnitus. It could mean taking a multi-faceted strategy in order to avoid tinnitus in the first place. One of those facets can definitely be diet. But it’s essential that you don’t forget about tried and tested techniques, and that you focus on safeguarding your ear health as much as possible.
If you’re suffering from tinnitus, give us a call. We can help.