You walk into the kitchen and you find a bite to eat. How about a salty treat… how about crackers? Chips sound good! There’s a leftover piece of cheesecake that would be delicious.
On second thought, maybe you should just eat a banana. Of course, a banana is a much better health option.
Everything is interrelated in the human body. So the fact that your diet can affect your ears shouldn’t come as a surprise. For example, too much sodium can increase 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 impact on the manifestation of tinnitus symptoms.
Your diet and tinnitus
The official publication of the American Auditory Society, called Ear and Hearing, published a study that observed the diets of a wide variety of people. 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 raise your potential for getting tinnitus.
There were nutrients other than B12 that were connected with tinnitus symptoms. Your risk of developing tinnitus also increases if your diet is too rich in fat, calcium, and iron.
And there’s more. The researchers also reported that dietary patterns may also cause tinnitus symptoms. Particularly, diets high in protein seemed to decrease the risk of developing tinnitus. Not surprisingly, low-fat diets that were high in fruits, vegetables, and meats also appeared pretty good for your ears.
So should you make a change to your diet?
Diet alone isn’t likely to dramatically change your hearing, and actually, you’d probably have to have a fairly severe deficiency for this to be the cause. Your hearing is much more likely to be affected by other things, like exposure to loud noise. But your general health depends on a healthy diet.
There are several substantive and practical insights that we can get from this research:
- Nutrients are essential: Your general hearing health will be impacted by what you eat. Obviously, your hearing will be helped by a healthy diet. But beyond that, we can easily see how malnutrition could lead to problems like tinnitus. And with people who are lacking the vital vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they need, this is especially true.
- Quantities vary: Certainly, if you want to keep your ears healthy you need a certain amount of B12 in your diet. Getting less than that could increase your vulnerability to tinnitus. But your ears won’t necessarily be healthy just because you get enough B12. 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 consume.
- Get your hearing tested professionally: If you’re suffering from hearing loss or tinnitus, have your hearing tested. We can help you determine (and correctly manage) any hearing loss.
- Protecting your ears takes many approaches: Based on this research, eating a good diet can help reduce your susceptibility to tinnitus and other inner ear conditions. But that doesn’t mean the entire risk has disappeared. It simply gives you better odds of avoiding ear conditions. You’ll need a more extensive approach if you really want to be protected from the chances of tinnitus. This will often mean safeguarding your ears from loud noise by wearing earplugs or earmuffs
Research is one thing, actual life is another
While this is inspiring research, it’s significant to note that there’s more to be said on the subject. More research needs to be conducted on this subject to confirm these conclusions, or to refine them, or dispute them. How much of this connection is causal and how much is correlational is still something that needs to be established, for example.
So we’re far from claiming that a vitamin B12 shot will prevent tinnitus. It may mean using 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 to take steps to protect your hearing and don’t forget about proven methods.
If you’re suffering from tinnitus, give us a call. We can help.