You go into the kitchen to find a bite to eat. How about a salty treat… maybe some crackers? Potato chips sound good! Wait. Maybe this leftover slice of cheesecake.
Maybe you should just go with a banana on second thought. After all, a banana is a much healthier option.
Everything is interrelated in the human body. So maybe it’s not a huge surprise that your diet can affect your ears. For instance, high sodium intake can elevate blood pressure and could make tinnitus symptoms more noticeable. Research is adding weight to this notion, indicating that your diet could have a strong impact on the development of tinnitus.
Tinnitus and your diet
The official journal of the American Auditory Society, called Ear and Hearing, published research that looked at the diets of a wide variety of people. The data suggests that what you eat could increase or diminish your vulnerability to some inner ear disorders, tinnitus among them. And your risk of developing tinnitus increases, especially when your diet is lacking vitamin B12.
There were other nutrients besides B12 that were linked to tinnitus symptoms. Eating too much calcium, iron, or fat could raise your chances of developing tinnitus too.
And there’s more. The researchers also reported that dietary patterns could also cause tinnitus symptoms. In particular, diets high in protein seemed to reduce the likelihood of developing tinnitus. It also appeared that diets low in fat and high in fruits and veggies had a beneficial impact on your hearing.
So should you make a change to your diet?
Diet by itself isn’t likely to drastically change your hearing, and actually, you’d most likely have to have a fairly significant deficiency for this to be the cause. Other problems, such as exposure to loud noise, are far more likely to impact your hearing. But your general health depends on a healthy diet.
This research has uncovered some practical and meaningful insights:
- Quantities vary: Sure, you require a certain amount of vitamin B12 (for instance) to keep your hearing healthy. You will be more vulnerable to tinnitus if you go below this level. But getting more vitamin B12 isn’t necessarily going to make your ears healthier. Getting too little or too much of these elements could be detrimental to your hearing, so always talk with your doctor about any supplements you consume.
- Protecting your ears takes many strategies: The risk of tinnitus and other inner ear conditions can be decreased by eating a healthy diet, according to this research. But that doesn’t mean the overall risk has gone away. It just means that your ears are a bit more resilient. So if you want to decrease the risk of tinnitus even more, you’ll have to take an inclusive approach to protect your ears. This will often mean safeguarding your hearing from loud noise by wearing earplugs or earmuffs
- Get your hearing tested professionally: Come in and get your hearing tested if you’re experiencing hearing loss or tinnitus. We can help you determine what type and degree of hearing loss you’re dealing with and how to best address it.
- Nutrients are essential: Your diet will have an impact on the health of your hearing. It certainly seems like an overall healthy diet will be good for your ears. But beyond that, we can definitely 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
While this is exciting research, it’s important to mention that there’s more to be said on the matter. More research needs to be conducted on this subject to verify these results, or to refine them, or dispute them. We’re not sure, for example, how much of this relationship is causal or correlational.
So we’re a long way from claiming that a vitamin B12 shot will stop tinnitus. Keeping that ringing in your ears from surfacing from the start will probably mean taking a multi-faceted approach. One of those facets can certainly be diet. But it’s crucial that you take measures to safeguard your hearing and don’t forget about proven methods.
We can help, so if you’re suffering from hearing problems, call us.