You go into the kitchen and you look for a bite to eat. Are you craving a salty treat… maybe some crackers? Oooo, chips! Hold up. Maybe this leftover slice of cheesecake.
Actually, maybe you should just eat a banana. A banana is a healthier option after all.
Everything is interrelated in the human body. So it’s probably not a big surprise that your diet can impact your ears. For instance, high sodium intake can increase blood pressure and could make tinnitus symptoms more pronounced. Recent research is suggesting that diet can have a direct impact on the development of tinnitus.
Your diet and tinnitus
The official publication of the American Auditory Society, called Ear and Hearing, published a study that looked at the diets of a wide variety of individuals. Your risk of certain inner ear conditions, including tinnitus, increases or diminishes based on what you eat. And your chance of developing tinnitus increases, especially when your diet is lacking vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 wasn’t the only nutrient that was connected with tinnitus symptoms. Eating too much calcium, iron, or fat could increase your risk of developing tinnitus as well.
And there’s more. The researchers also observed that dietary patterns could also trigger tinnitus symptoms. Particularly, diets high in protein appeared to decrease the risk of developing tinnitus. Not surprisingly, low-fat diets that were high in fruits, vegetables, and meats also seemed pretty good for your ears.
So should you make a change to your diet?
Diet alone isn’t likely to significantly change your hearing, and actually, you’d probably have to have a pretty severe deficiency for this to be the cause. Other issues, like exposure to loud sound, are much more likely to affect your hearing. Having said that, you should try to sustain a healthy diet for your general health.
There are some substantive and practical insights that we can take from this research:
- Protecting your ears takes many approaches: The danger of tinnitus and other inner ear disorders can be decreased by eating a healthy diet, according to this research. But that doesn’t mean the entire risk has gone away. It just means that your ears are a bit more resilient. You’ll need a more extensive approach if you really want to be protected from the chances of tinnitus. This might mean using earmuffs or earplugs to ensure volume levels stay safe.
- Always get your hearing checked by a professional: Come in and get your hearing tested if you’re experiencing tinnitus or hearing loss. We will help you figure out what type and level of hearing loss you’re dealing with and how to best manage it.
- 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. Getting too little or too much of these elements could be harmful to your hearing, so always talk to your doctor about any supplements you take.
- Nutrients are important: Your overall hearing health will be effected by what you eat. Naturally, your hearing will be benefited by a healthy diet. But more than that, we can easily see how malnutrition can lead to problems like tinnitus. And with individuals who are lacking the vital vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they need, this is particularly true.
Real life doesn’t always mirror the research
And, finally, it’s important to note that, while this research is impressive and fascinating, it isn’t the last word on the topic. In order to confirm and improve the scope of these conclusions, more research will still need to be carried out. How much of this relationship is causal and how much is correlational is still something that needs to be established, for instance.
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. Diet is one of those facets, sure (eat that banana). But it’s crucial to take steps to safeguard your hearing and don’t forget about proven strategies.
We can help, so if you’re suffering from hearing problems, call us.