You’re starving so you look in your fridge for a snack. Are you craving a salty treat… 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. After all, a banana is a much better health option.
With the human body, everything is connected. So it’s probably not a big surprise that what you eat can impact your ears. For instance, too much sodium can elevate blood pressure and could make tinnitus symptoms more noticeable. Research is adding weight to this notion, indicating that what you eat could have a strong impact on the development of tinnitus.
Your diet and tinnitus
A study published in Ear and Hearing, the official publication of the American Auditory Society, observed a wide variety of people and took a close look at their diets. The data suggests that what you eat may increase or diminish your susceptibility to some inner ear conditions, tinnitus among them. And, based on the research, a deficiency of vitamin B12, in particular, could increase your potential for developing tinnitus.
There were other nutrients besides B12 that were linked to tinnitus symptoms. Consuming too much calcium, iron, or fat could raise your chances of developing tinnitus too.
That isn’t all. This research also revealed that tinnitus symptoms can also be influenced by dietary patterns. For instance, your risk of developing tinnitus will be reduced 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.
Does this mean you should change your diet?
You would have 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 effect. Other issues, such as exposure to loud noise, are much more likely to impact your hearing. Having said that, you should attempt to sustain a healthy diet for your overall health.
This research has uncovered some practical and meaningful insights:
- Always get your hearing checked by a professional: If you’re suffering from hearing loss or tinnitus, get your hearing tested. We will be able to help you determine (and properly manage) any hearing loss.
- Quantities vary: Sure, you require a certain amount of vitamin B12 (for example) to keep your hearing healthy. Getting less than that could increase your vulnerability to tinnitus. But getting more vitamin B12 won’t necessarily make your ears healthier. Getting too little or too much of these nutrients could be damaging to your hearing, so always talk to your doctor about any supplements you consume.
- Safeguarding your ears takes many strategies: The danger 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 gone away. It just means that your ears are a bit 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 will frequently mean protecting your hearing from loud noise by wearing earplugs or earmuffs
- Nutrients are essential: Your diet is going to have an effect on your hearing health. It sure seems as if an overall healthy diet will be good for your ears. But more than that, we can definitely see how malnutrition can lead to issues such as tinnitus. And with people who are lacking the vital vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they need, this is particularly true.
Real life doesn’t always echo the research
And, finally, it’s significant to note that, while this research is impressive and fascinating, it’s not the last word on the matter. More research must be conducted on this topic to validate these results, or to improve them, or dispute them. How much of this connection is causal and how much is correlational is still something that needs to be identified, for instance.
So we’re not implying that tinnitus can be eliminated by a B12 shot alone. It may mean taking a multi-faceted approach in order to avoid tinnitus from the start. One of those facets can certainly be diet. But it’s crucial to take measures to protect your hearing and don’t forget about proven methods.
If you’re experiencing tinnitus, contact us. We can help.