You’re starving so you look in your fridge for a snack. Do you want something salty… maybe some crackers? Chips sound good! Hold up. Maybe this leftover piece of cheesecake.
On second thought, maybe you should just eat a banana. Of course, a banana is a much better health option.
With the human body, everything is interconnected. So the fact that what you eat can affect your ears shouldn’t be surprising. If you eat a high sodium diet, for example, it can elevate your blood pressure and that can increase your tinnitus symptoms. Recent research is indicating that diet can have a direct influence on the development of tinnitus.
Tinnitus and your diet
The official publication of the American Auditory Society, called Ear and Hearing, published research that observed the diets of a wide variety of individuals. The data shows that your diet may increase or diminish your susceptibility to specific inner ear disorders, tinnitus among them. And, according to the research, a lack of vitamin B12, in particular, could raise your potential for developing tinnitus.
There were other nutrients besides B12 that were linked to tinnitus symptoms. Eating too much calcium, iron, or fat could raise your chances of getting tinnitus too.
That’s not all. The researchers also reported that dietary patterns may also trigger tinnitus symptoms. In particular, diets high in protein seemed to reduce the risk of developing tinnitus. It also seemed that diets low in fat and high in fruits and veggies had a positive impact on your hearing.
Does this suggest you should change your diet?
Diet by itself isn’t likely to drastically change your hearing, and in fact, you’d probably have to have a fairly significant deficiency for this to be the cause. Other problems, like exposure to loud sound, are far more likely to affect your hearing. But your overall health depends on a healthy diet.
This research has uncovered some practical and meaningful insights:
- Always get your hearing checked by a professional: If you’re dealing with hearing loss or tinnitus, get your hearing checked. We can help you determine what type and level of hearing loss you’re coping with and how to best address it.
- Quantities vary: Sure, you need a certain amount of vitamin B12 (for example) to keep your hearing healthy. Getting less than that could increase your vulnerability to tinnitus. But getting more vitamin B12 isn’t necessarily going to make your ears healthier. Getting too little or too much of these nutrients could be damaging to your hearing, so always talk to your doctor about any supplements you take.
- Nutrients are essential: Your diet is going to have an effect on your hearing health. Clearly, your hearing will be benefited by a balanced diet. But more than that, we can easily see how malnutrition could lead to problems such as tinnitus. This can be particularly important to note when individuals aren’t taking in the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that they need.
- Protecting your ears takes many approaches: Based on this research, eating a good diet can help lower your vulnerability to tinnitus and other inner ear conditions. But that doesn’t mean the overall risk has disappeared. It simply means that your ears are a bit more resilient. You’ll need a more comprehensive approach if you truly want to be protected from the risk of tinnitus. This might mean using earmuffs or earplugs to ensure noise levels stay safe.
Real life doesn’t always echo the research
While this is exciting research, it’s significant to mention that there’s more to be said on the subject. More research needs to be conducted on this subject to validate these results, or to improve them, or dispute them. We don’t know, for instance, how much of this relationship is causal or correlational.
So we’re not implying that tinnitus can be stopped by a B12 shot alone. It could mean using a multi-faceted approach in order to prevent tinnitus in the first place. One of those facets can definitely be diet. But it’s crucial to take measures to safeguard your hearing and don’t forget about proven methods.
If you’re experiencing tinnitus, give us a call. We can help.