You go into the kitchen and you find a snack. How about a salty treat… maybe some crackers? Chips sound good! There’s a leftover slice of cheesecake that would be yummy.
On second thought, maybe you should just eat a banana. A banana is a healthier choice obviously.
Everything is interrelated in the human body. So it’s probably not a big surprise that your diet can affect your ears. For example, high sodium intake can elevate blood pressure and could make tinnitus symptoms more noticeable. Research is verifying this idea, suggesting that what you eat could have a direct impact on the manifestation of tinnitus symptoms.
Your diet and tinnitus
A study published in Ear and Hearing, the official publication of the American Auditory Society, observed a wide variety of people and looked closely at their diets. Your risk of specific inner ear disorders, including tinnitus, increases or diminishes based on what you eat. And your risk of developing tinnitus increases, particularly when your diet is lacking vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 wasn’t the only nutrient that was linked to tinnitus symptoms. Your risk of getting tinnitus also increases if your diet is too rich in fat, calcium, and iron.
That isn’t all. The researchers also observed that dietary patterns may also cause tinnitus symptoms. For example, your likelihood of developing tinnitus will be reduced by a diet high in protein. Not surprisingly, low-fat diets that were high in fruits, vegetables, and meats also seemed fairly good for your ears.
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 things, like exposure to loud noise. Having said that, you should try to sustain a healthy diet for your overall health.
This research has uncovered some practical and meaningful insights:
- Protecting your ears takes many approaches: As reported by this study, eating a good diet can help reduce your susceptibility to tinnitus and other inner ear conditions. But that doesn’t mean the entire risk has disappeared. It simply means that your ears are a bit more resilient. So if you want to decrease the chance of tinnitus even more, you’ll have to take a comprehensive approach to protect your hearing. This may mean wearing earmuffs or earplugs to make sure noise levels stay safe.
- Always get your hearing checked by a professional: Come in and get your hearing tested if you’re experiencing hearing loss or tinnitus. We will be able to help you determine (and properly treat) any hearing loss.
- Nutrients are essential: Your total hearing health is going to be impacted by what you eat. It certainly seems as if a generally healthy diet will be good for your ears. So it isn’t hard to see how issues like tinnitus can be a result of poor nutrition. And with people who are lacking the vital vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they need, this is particularly true.
- Quantities vary: Sure, you need a certain amount of vitamin B12 (for instance) to keep your ears healthy. You will be more susceptible to tinnitus if you go below this level. But your ears won’t necessarily be healthy simply because you get enough B12. Getting too little or too much of these elements could be detrimental to your hearing, so always speak with your doctor about any supplements you take.
Real life doesn’t always mirror the research
While this is exciting research, it’s important to mention that there’s more to be said on the matter. In order to confirm and improve the scope of these results, more research will still have to be done. How much of this relationship is causal and how much is correlational is still something that needs to be identified, for instance.
So we’re far from saying a vitamin B12 shot will stop tinnitus. It could mean using a multi-faceted strategy in order to prevent tinnitus from the start. Diet can be one of those facets, certainly (eat that banana). But it’s essential that you don’t forget about tried and tested strategies, and that you concentrate on protecting your ear health as much as possible.
We can help, so if you’re experiencing hearing issues, call us.