You’re starving so you look in your fridge for a snack. Do you want something salty… how about crackers? Potato chips sound good! There’s a leftover piece of cheesecake that would be delicious.
Perhaps you should just go with a banana on second thought. A banana is a healthier option after all.
When it comes to the human body, everything is connected. So maybe it’s not a big surprise that your diet can affect your ears. For instance, high sodium intake can increase blood pressure and could make tinnitus symptoms more pronounced. Research is adding weight to this idea, suggesting that your diet could have a direct impact on the development of tinnitus.
Tinnitus and your diet
The official publication of the American Auditory Society, called Ear and Hearing, published research that looked at the diets of a wide variety of individuals. Your danger of certain inner ear disorders, including tinnitus, increases or diminishes depending on what you eat. And your chance of getting tinnitus increases, especially when your diet is lacking vitamin B12.
There were nutrients other than 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. This research also showed that tinnitus symptoms can also be affected by dietary patterns. Particularly, diets high in protein seemed to reduce the likelihood of developing tinnitus. It also seemed that diets low in fat and high in fruits and veggies had a positive impact on your hearing.
So should you make a change to your diet?
You would have 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 effect. Your hearing is far more likely to be impacted by other factors, such as exposure to loud sound. But your general health depends on a healthy diet.
There are some meaningful and practical insights that we can get from this research:
- Nutrients are essential: Your diet will have an effect on your hearing health. It sure seems like an overall healthy diet will be good for your ears. So it isn’t hard to see how problems like tinnitus can be a result of poor nutrition. And with people who are lacking the essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they need, this is particularly true.
- Quantities vary: Certainly, if you want to keep your hearing healthy you need a certain amount of B12 in your diet. You will be more susceptible to tinnitus if you go below this level. But your ears won’t necessarily be healthy just because you get enough B12. Always speak with your doctor about any supplements you take because getting too little or too much of these elements can be bad for you.
- Protecting your ears takes many approaches: The risk of tinnitus and other inner ear conditions can be lowered by eating a healthy diet, according to this study. But that doesn’t mean the entire risk has disappeared. It just gives you better odds of avoiding ear conditions. You’ll need a more comprehensive approach if you truly want to be protected from the chances of tinnitus. This will often mean protecting your ears from loud noise by using earplugs or earmuffs
- Get your hearing tested professionally: Come in and get your hearing tested if you’re experiencing hearing loss or tinnitus. We will help you determine what type and level of hearing loss you’re coping with and how to best manage it.
Research is one thing, actual life is another
While this is exciting research, it’s important to note that there’s more to be said on the subject. In order to confirm and sharpen the scope of these results, 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 identified, 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 certainly be diet. But it’s essential to take steps to safeguard your hearing and don’t forget about established strategies.
If you’re suffering from tinnitus, contact us. We can help.