You’re starving so you go to your fridge for a snack. Do you want something salty… maybe some crackers? Oooo, potato chips! There’s a leftover piece of cheesecake that would be yummy.
Perhaps you should just opt for a banana on second thought. A banana is a healthier choice obviously.
When it comes to the human body, everything is connected. So the fact that your diet can affect your ears shouldn’t come as a surprise. For instance, too much sodium can increase blood pressure and could make tinnitus symptoms more pronounced. Research is verifying this notion, indicating that what you eat could have a strong impact on the manifestation 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 looked closely at their diets. The data shows that what you eat may increase or diminish your vulnerability to specific inner ear conditions, tinnitus among them. And your chance of developing tinnitus increases, particularly when your diet is lacking vitamin B12.
There were other nutrients besides B12 that were connected with tinnitus symptoms. Your chance of getting tinnitus also increases if your diet is too high in fat, calcium, and iron.
And there’s more. The researchers also observed that dietary patterns could also cause tinnitus symptoms. In particular, diets high in protein appeared to reduce the likelihood of developing tinnitus. 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 likely won’t have a significant impact. Your hearing is far more likely to be affected by other things, such as exposure to loud sound. But your overall health depends on a healthy diet.
There are a couple of substantive and practical insights that we can take from this research:
- Always get your hearing checked by a professional: Come in and get your hearing evaluated if you’re experiencing hearing loss or tinnitus. We can help you figure out what type and level of hearing loss you’re dealing with and how to best treat it.
- Protecting your ears takes many strategies: The danger of tinnitus and other inner ear conditions can be reduced by eating a healthy diet, according to this study. That doesn’t mean you’re no longer at risk. It simply gives you better odds of avoiding ear conditions. You’ll need a more comprehensive approach if you truly want to be protected from the risk of tinnitus. This will frequently mean safeguarding your hearing from loud noise by using earplugs or earmuffs
- Nutrients are important: Your diet is going to have an effect on the health of your hearing. Obviously, your hearing will be helped by a healthy diet. But more than that, we can easily see how malnutrition can lead to problems like tinnitus. This can be especially important to note when people aren’t taking in the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that they need.
- 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 go below this level. But getting more vitamin B12 won’t necessarily make your ears healthier. Getting too little or too much of these nutrients could be harmful to your hearing, so always speak to your doctor about any supplements you take.
Real life doesn’t always mirror the research
And, lastly, it’s important to note that, while this research is impressive and fascinating, it isn’t the final word on the matter. More research needs to be carried out on this subject to validate these findings, or to refine them, or dispute them. We’re not sure, for example, how much of this connection is causal or correlational.
So we’re far from saying a vitamin B12 shot will stop tinnitus. Keeping that ringing in your ears from appearing in the first place will probably mean taking a multi-faceted approach. Diet can be one of those prongs, certainly (eat that banana). But it’s important that you don’t forget about proven methods, and that you concentrate on safeguarding your hearing health as much as possible.
We can help, so if you’re experiencing hearing problems, call us.