You’re starving so you go to your fridge for a little bite to eat. Will it be something salty… maybe some crackers? Oooo, chips! Wait. Maybe this leftover piece of cheesecake.
Maybe you should just go with a banana on second thought. Of course, a banana is a much better health choice.
Everything is interconnected in the human body. So maybe it’s not a big surprise that your diet can impact your ears. For instance, high sodium intake can raise blood pressure and could make tinnitus symptoms more noticeable. Research is adding weight to this idea, suggesting that your diet could have a direct impact on the development of tinnitus.
Your diet and tinnitus
Research published in Ear and Hearing, the official publication of the American Auditory Society, sampled a wide variety of people and looked closely at their diets. Your risk of specific inner ear conditions, including tinnitus, increases or diminishes based on what you eat. And your chance of getting tinnitus increases, particularly when your diet is lacking vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 wasn’t the only nutrient that was connected with tinnitus symptoms. Consuming too much calcium, iron, or fat could increase your chances of getting tinnitus too.
That isn’t all. The researchers also observed that dietary patterns could also cause tinnitus symptoms. For example, your risk 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.
Does this mean you need to change your diet?
Diet alone isn’t likely to dramatically 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 impacted by other things, such as exposure to loud noise. Having said that, you should try to maintain a healthy diet for your overall health.
This research has revealed some practical and meaningful insights:
- Get your hearing tested professionally: Come in and get your hearing checked 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 treat it.
- Safeguarding your ears takes many approaches: The risk of tinnitus and other inner ear conditions can be decreased 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 bit more resilient. So if you want to lower the chance of tinnitus even more, you’ll have to take a comprehensive approach to protect your hearing. This might mean using earmuffs or earplugs to ensure noise levels stay safe.
- Nutrients are essential: Your overall hearing health is going to be effected by your diet. Clearly, your hearing will be helped by a healthy diet. But more than that, we can easily see how malnutrition could cause problems like tinnitus. This can be particularly important to note when individuals aren’t taking in the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that they require.
- Quantities vary: Certainly, if you want to keep your ears 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 unhealthy.
Research is one thing, real life is another
And, lastly, it’s important to note that, while this research is impressive and fascinating, it’s not the final word on the matter. More research needs to be conducted on this topic to validate these results, or to improve them, or dispute them. How much of this relationship is causal and how much is correlational is still something that needs to be established, for example.
So we’re a long way from saying a vitamin B12 shot will stop tinnitus. It could mean using a multi-faceted strategy in order to avoid tinnitus from the start. Diet is one of those facets, certainly (eat that banana). But it’s essential that you don’t forget about tried and tested methods, and that you focus on protecting your ear health as much as possible.
We can help, so if you’re suffering from hearing problems, call us.