You’re starving so you look in your fridge for a little bite to eat. How about a salty treat… maybe some crackers? Oooo, chips! There’s a leftover piece of cheesecake that would be yummy.
Maybe you should just go with a banana on second thought. A banana is a healthier option after all.
With the human body, everything is connected. So it’s probably not a huge surprise that what you eat can affect your ears. If you eat a diet high in sodium, for example, it can raise your blood pressure which can escalate your tinnitus symptoms. Recent research is indicating that diet can have a strong impact on the development of tinnitus.
Your diet and tinnitus
Research published in Ear and Hearing, the official journal of the American Auditory Society, observed a wide variety of people and took a close look at their diets. The data shows that your diet might increase or diminish your susceptibility to specific inner ear conditions, tinnitus among them. And, based on the research, a deficiency of vitamin B12, particularly, could increase your potential for developing tinnitus.
Vitamin B12 wasn’t the only nutrient that was associated with tinnitus symptoms. Your risk of getting tinnitus also increases if your diet is too high in fat, calcium, and iron.
And there’s more. This research also showed that tinnitus symptoms can also be affected by dietary patterns. Particularly, diets high in protein seemed to reduce the risk of developing tinnitus. Not surprisingly, low-fat diets that were high in fruits, vegetables, and meats also seemed fairly good for your ears.
Does this suggest you need to change your diet?
Diet by itself isn’t likely to drastically change your hearing, and in fact, you’d most likely have to have a pretty severe deficiency for this to be the cause. Your hearing is far more likely to be affected by other factors, such as exposure to loud sound. That said, you should attempt to maintain a healthy diet for your overall health.
There are a few meaningful and practical insights that we can get from this research:
- Safeguarding your ears takes many strategies: The risk of tinnitus and other inner ear conditions can be lowered by eating a healthy diet, according to this study. That doesn’t mean you’re not still at risk. It just means that your ears are a little more robust. You’ll need a more comprehensive approach if you really want to be protected from the risk of tinnitus. This may mean using earmuffs or earplugs to guarantee volume levels stay safe.
- Quantities vary: Certainly, if you want to keep your ears healthy you need a certain amount of B12 in your diet. Going below 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 elements could be damaging to your hearing, so always speak with your doctor about any supplements you take.
- Nutrients are essential: Your diet is going to have an impact on your hearing health. Clearly, your hearing will be benefited by a balanced diet. But beyond that, we can easily see how malnutrition could cause issues such as tinnitus. This can be particularly important to note when people aren’t taking in the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that they require.
- Always get your hearing checked by a professional: If you’re dealing with hearing loss or tinnitus, have your hearing examined. We can help you figure out (and properly treat) any hearing loss.
Research is one thing, actual life is another
While this is inspiring research, it’s significant to mention that there’s more to be said on the matter. More research needs to be carried out on this subject to confirm these results, or to improve them, or challenge them. We’re not sure, for example, how much of this connection is causal or correlational.
So we’re not implying that tinnitus can be eliminated by a B12 shot alone. It might mean taking 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 that you don’t forget about proven techniques, and that you concentrate on protecting your ear health as much as you can.
If you’re suffering from tinnitus, contact us. We can help.