You’re starving so you go to your fridge for a snack. Do you want something salty… how about crackers? Oooo, potato chips! There’s a leftover slice of cheesecake that would be delicious.
Maybe you should just go with a banana on second thought. A banana is a healthier choice after all.
With the human body, everything is connected. So it’s probably not a big surprise that what you eat can affect your ears. For example, too much sodium can raise blood pressure and could make tinnitus symptoms more pronounced. Research is adding weight to this notion, indicating that your diet could have a direct influence on the manifestation of tinnitus symptoms.
Tinnitus and your diet
The official journal of the American Auditory Society, called Ear and Hearing, published a study that observed the diets of a wide variety of individuals. Your risk of certain inner ear conditions, including tinnitus, increases or diminishes depending on what you eat. And, according to the research, a deficiency of vitamin B12, in particular, could increase your potential for getting tinnitus.
Vitamin B12 wasn’t the only nutrient that was associated with tinnitus symptoms. Eating too much calcium, iron, or fat could raise your chances of getting tinnitus as well.
And there’s more. This research also indicated that tinnitus symptoms can also be affected by dietary patterns. Particularly, diets high in protein appeared to reduce the risk of developing tinnitus. It also seemed that diets low in fat and high in fruits and veggies had a beneficial effect on your hearing.
Does this suggest you should change your diet?
Diet by itself isn’t likely to significantly change your hearing, and actually, you’d most likely have to have a fairly severe deficiency for this to be the cause. Your hearing is far more likely to be affected by other factors, like exposure to loud noise. Having said that, you should try to keep a healthy diet for your overall health.
This research has revealed some practical and meaningful insights:
- Always get your hearing checked by a professional: If you’re suffering from hearing loss or tinnitus, have your hearing examined. We can help you figure out what type and level of hearing loss you’re coping with and how to best treat it.
- 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 getting more vitamin B12 won’t necessarily make your ears healthier. Always speak with your doctor about any supplements you use because getting too little or too much of these elements can be unhealthy.
- Protecting your ears takes many strategies: As reported by this study, eating a good diet can help lower your susceptibility to tinnitus and other inner ear conditions. But that doesn’t mean the entire risk has disappeared. It just gives you better odds of preventing ear conditions. So if you want to reduce the risk of tinnitus even further, you’ll have to take an inclusive approach to protect your ears. This might mean wearing earmuffs or earplugs to make sure volume levels remain safe.
- Nutrients are important: Your total hearing health will be effected by your diet. It sure seems like an overall healthy diet will be good for your ears. So it’s not difficult to see how issues such as tinnitus can be a result of poor nutrition. And with individuals who are lacking the vital vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they need, this is especially true.
Real life doesn’t always mirror the research
And, lastly, it’s important to note that, while this research is exciting and fascinating, it’s not the last word on the subject. In order to verify and sharpen the scope of these conclusions, more research will still need to be carried out. How much of this connection is causal and how much is correlational is still something that needs to be determined, for instance.
So we’re far from claiming that a vitamin B12 shot will prevent tinnitus. Keeping that ringing in your ears from surfacing from the start will probably mean taking a multi-faceted approach. One of those facets can certainly be diet. But it’s crucial that you take steps to protect your hearing and don’t forget about established methods.
If you’re suffering from tinnitus, contact us. We can help.