You’re feeling hungry so you look in your fridge for a little bite to eat. Are you craving a salty treat… maybe some crackers? Potato chips sound good! Hold up. Maybe this leftover slice of cheesecake.
On second thought, maybe you should just have a banana. After all, a banana is a much better health choice.
When it comes to the human body, everything is interconnected. So maybe it’s not a big surprise that what you eat can affect your ears. If you eat a high sodium diet, for instance, it can elevate your blood pressure and that can increase your tinnitus symptoms. Current research is suggesting that diet can have a direct influence on the development of tinnitus symptoms.
Your diet and tinnitus
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 might increase or diminish your vulnerability to specific 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 connected with tinnitus symptoms. Consuming too much calcium, iron, or fat could increase your risk of getting tinnitus too.
That isn’t all. The researchers also reported that dietary patterns could also trigger tinnitus symptoms. For instance, your likelihood of developing tinnitus will be decreased by a diet high in protein. It also seemed that diets low in fat and high in fruits and veggies had a beneficial effect on your hearing.
Does this mean you need to change your diet?
Diet by itself isn’t likely to drastically change your hearing, and actually, you’d most likely have to have a pretty significant deficiency for this to be the cause. Your hearing is much more likely to be impacted by other things, such as exposure to loud sound. But your overall health depends on a healthy diet.
There are several substantive and practical insights that we can take from this research:
- Nutrients are essential: Your general hearing health is going to be effected by your diet. It sure seems as if a generally healthy diet will be good for your ears. So it isn’t hard to see how problems such as tinnitus can be a result of poor nutrition. This can be especially important to note when people aren’t getting the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that they require.
- Protecting your ears takes many strategies: As reported by this research, eating a healthy diet can help lower your vulnerability to tinnitus and other inner ear conditions. That doesn’t mean you’re not still at risk. It simply gives you better odds of preventing ear conditions. So if you want to decrease the risk of tinnitus even more, you’ll have to take a comprehensive approach to safeguard your ears. This will often mean protecting your hearing from loud noise by using earplugs or earmuffs
- Always get your hearing checked by a professional: Come in and get your hearing checked if you’re experiencing tinnitus or hearing loss. We can help you determine what type and level of hearing loss you’re coping with and how to best manage it.
- Quantities vary: Certainly, if you want to keep your hearing healthy you need a certain amount of B12 in your diet. 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.
Real life doesn’t always mirror the research
While this is inspiring research, it’s important to note that there’s more to be said on the matter. In order to verify and sharpen the scope of these findings, more research will still need to be done. 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 far from claiming that a vitamin B12 shot will stop tinnitus. It could mean using a multi-faceted strategy in order to avoid tinnitus from the start. Diet is one of those facets, certainly (eat that banana). But it’s crucial that you don’t forget about tried and tested strategies, and that you pay attention to protecting your hearing health as much as possible.
If you’re experiencing tinnitus, give us a call. We can help.