You go into the kitchen and you look for a bite to eat. Do you want something salty… what about crackers? Chips sound good! There’s a leftover slice of cheesecake that would be delicious.
On second thought, maybe you should just have a banana. Of course, a banana is a much healthier choice.
When it comes to the human body, everything is connected. So the fact that what you eat can affect your ears shouldn’t come as a surprise. For instance, too much sodium 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 direct impact on the development of tinnitus.
Tinnitus and your diet
The official journal of the American Auditory Society, called Ear and Hearing, published a study that observed the diets of a wide variety of people. The data indicates that your diet may increase or diminish your vulnerability to specific inner ear disorders, tinnitus among them. And, according to the research, a lack of vitamin B12, particularly, could raise your potential for developing tinnitus.
There were nutrients other than B12 that were linked to tinnitus symptoms. Eating too much calcium, iron, or fat could raise your risk of developing tinnitus too.
And there’s more. The researchers also noted that dietary patterns could also trigger tinnitus symptoms. In particular, diets high in protein seemed to reduce the likelihood of developing tinnitus. It also seemed that diets low in fat and high in fruits and veggies had a beneficial impact on your hearing.
Does this suggest you should change your diet?
Diet by itself isn’t likely to drastically change your hearing, and actually, you’d most likely have to have a fairly severe 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 overall health depends on a healthy diet.
There are a few substantive and practical insights that we can take from this research:
- Protecting your ears takes many approaches: Based on this study, eating a good diet can help reduce your susceptibility to tinnitus and other inner ear ailments. But that doesn’t mean the overall risk has disappeared. It just means that your ears are a bit more resilient. So if you want to lower the risk of tinnitus even more, you’ll have to take an inclusive approach to safeguard your ears. This might mean wearing earmuffs or earplugs to make sure volume levels stay safe.
- Quantities vary: Certainly, if you want to keep your ears healthy you need a certain amount of B12 in your diet. Going below that could increase your susceptibility to tinnitus. 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 harmful to your hearing, so always speak to your doctor about any supplements you consume.
- Nutrients are important: Your total hearing health will be effected by your diet. It sure seems like a generally healthy diet will be good for your ears. But beyond that, we can definitely see how malnutrition could cause problems like tinnitus. And with individuals who are lacking the essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they need, this is especially true.
- Get your hearing tested professionally: If you’re dealing with hearing loss or tinnitus, have your hearing tested. We can help you figure out (and correctly address) any hearing loss.
Real life doesn’t always mirror the research
And, finally, it’s significant to note that, while this research is impressive and fascinating, it’s not the last word on the topic. More research must be carried out on this topic to verify these findings, or to improve them, or dispute them. How much of this connection is causal and how much is correlational is still something that needs to be identified, for instance.
So we’re not implying that tinnitus can be prevented by a B12 shot alone. It may mean using a multi-faceted approach in order to prevent tinnitus from the start. Diet can be one of those prongs, sure (eat that banana). But it’s crucial that you take steps to safeguard your hearing and don’t forget about established methods.
If you’re experiencing tinnitus, contact us. We can help.