You walk into the kitchen and you look for a bite to eat. Are you craving a salty treat… maybe some crackers? Oooo, potato chips! Hold up. Maybe this leftover piece of cheesecake.
Maybe you should just opt for a banana on second thought. Of course, a banana is a much better health choice.
Everything is interconnected in the human body. So it’s probably not a big surprise that your diet can affect your ears. For example, high sodium intake can raise blood pressure and could make tinnitus symptoms more pronounced. Recent research is indicating that diet can have a strong influence on the development of tinnitus.
Tinnitus and your diet
Research published in Ear and Hearing, the official journal of the American Auditory Society, observed a wide variety of people and looked closely at their diets. Your risk of specific inner ear disorders, including tinnitus, increases or diminishes based on what you eat. And, according to the research, a lack of vitamin B12, particularly, could increase your potential for getting tinnitus.
Vitamin B12 wasn’t the only nutrient that was associated with tinnitus symptoms. Consuming too much calcium, iron, or fat could increase your risk of developing tinnitus as well.
And there’s more. This research also revealed that tinnitus symptoms can also be influenced by dietary patterns. In particular, diets high in protein appeared to reduce 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 mean you should change your diet?
Diet by itself 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. Other issues, such as exposure to loud noise, are much more likely to impact your hearing. But your general health depends on a healthy diet.
This research has discovered some practical and meaningful insights:
- Nutrients are important: Your total hearing health is going to be effected by what you eat. Naturally, your hearing will be benefited by a healthy diet. So it’s not hard to see how problems such as tinnitus can be an outcome of poor nutrition. And with individuals who are lacking the vital vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they need, this is particularly true.
- Quantities vary: Certainly, if you want to keep your hearing healthy you need a certain amount of B12 in your diet. You will be more susceptible to tinnitus if you get less than this. But your ears won’t necessarily be healthy just because you get enough B12. Always consult your physician about any supplements you use because getting too little or too much of these elements can be bad for you.
- Protecting your ears takes many strategies: According to this research, eating a healthy diet can help lower your vulnerability to tinnitus and other inner ear ailments. But that doesn’t mean the overall risk has disappeared. It simply gives you better odds of preventing ear conditions. So if you want to reduce the chance of tinnitus even more, you’ll have to take an inclusive approach to safeguard your hearing. This will frequently mean safeguarding your hearing from loud noise by wearing earplugs or earmuffs
- Get your hearing tested professionally: If you’re suffering from hearing loss or tinnitus, get your hearing tested. We will help you figure out what type and level of hearing loss you’re dealing with and how to best manage it.
Real life doesn’t always mirror the research
And, finally, it’s important to note that, while this research is impressive and interesting, it isn’t the final word on the topic. More research needs to be conducted on this topic to confirm these results, or to refine them, or dispute them. How much of this relationship is causal and how much is correlational is still something that needs to be established, for instance.
So we’re not suggesting that tinnitus can be eliminated by a B12 shot alone. It may mean taking a multi-faceted strategy in order to avoid tinnitus in the first place. Diet is one of those prongs, sure (eat that banana). But it’s crucial that you don’t forget about proven techniques, and that you concentrate on safeguarding your hearing health as much as you can.
If you’re suffering from tinnitus, give us a call. We can help.