You go into the kitchen to look for a bite to eat. Do you want something salty… maybe some crackers? Oooo, chips! Wait. Maybe this leftover piece of cheesecake.
On second thought, maybe you should just eat a banana. After all, a banana is a much better health option.
When it comes to the human body, everything is connected. So maybe it’s not a huge surprise that your diet can affect your ears. For instance, high sodium intake 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 direct influence on the development of tinnitus.
Your diet and tinnitus
The official journal of the American Auditory Society, called Ear and Hearing, published research that looked at the diets of a wide variety of individuals. Your risk of certain inner ear conditions, including tinnitus, increases or diminishes based on what you eat. And your risk of getting tinnitus increases, especially when your diet is lacking vitamin B12.
There were other nutrients besides B12 that were linked to tinnitus symptoms. Your chance of developing tinnitus also increases if your diet is too rich in fat, calcium, and iron.
And there’s more. The researchers also observed that dietary patterns could also trigger tinnitus symptoms. For instance, your likelihood of developing tinnitus will be decreased by a diet high in protein. Needless to say, low-fat diets that were high in fruits, vegetables, and meats also appeared fairly good for your ears.
So should you make a change to your diet?
You would need to have a seriously deficient diet in order for that to be the cause, so modifying your diet alone probably won’t have a substantial impact. Your hearing is far more likely to be impacted by other things, such as exposure to loud sound. But your general health depends on a healthy diet.
There are several meaningful and useful insights that we can take from this research:
- Nutrients are important: Your diet is going to have an effect on the health of your hearing. It certainly seems as if a generally healthy diet will be good for your ears. But more than that, we can easily see how malnutrition could lead to issues such as tinnitus. This can be particularly important to take note of when people aren’t taking in the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that they require.
- Protecting your ears takes many approaches: According to this study, eating a good diet can help reduce your susceptibility to tinnitus and other inner ear ailments. But that doesn’t mean the entire risk has disappeared. It just means that your ears are a little more resilient. So if you want to lower the risk of tinnitus even further, you’ll have to take a comprehensive approach to protect your ears. This will frequently mean safeguarding your ears 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 checked. We can help you figure out (and properly treat) any hearing loss.
- Quantities vary: Sure, you need a certain amount of vitamin B12 (for instance) to keep your ears healthy. Going below that could increase your vulnerability to tinnitus. But your ears won’t necessarily be healthy simply because you get enough B12. Getting too little or too much of these nutrients could be damaging to your hearing, so always talk with your doctor about any supplements you take.
Research is one thing, real life is another
While this is exciting research, it’s significant to mention that there’s more to be said on the matter. In order to validate and improve the scope of these findings, more research will still need to be carried out. 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 far from claiming that a vitamin B12 shot will prevent tinnitus. Keeping that ringing in your ears from appearing from the start will probably mean taking a multi-faceted approach. One of those facets can definitely be diet. But it’s essential to take steps to safeguard your hearing and don’t forget about established methods.
If you’re experiencing tinnitus, contact us. We can help.