You go into the kitchen to find a snack. How about a salty treat… maybe some crackers? Oooo, potato chips! Wait. Maybe this leftover slice of cheesecake.
Perhaps you should just opt for a banana on second thought. After all, a banana is a much healthier choice.
Everything is interconnected in the human body. So maybe it’s not a huge surprise that your diet can affect your ears. For example, high sodium intake can elevate blood pressure and could make tinnitus symptoms more noticeable. Current research is indicating that diet can have a direct impact 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 suggests that what you eat might increase or diminish your susceptibility to some inner ear disorders, tinnitus among them. And your risk of developing tinnitus increases, particularly when your diet is lacking vitamin B12.
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 as well.
That’s not all. The researchers also noted that dietary patterns could also trigger tinnitus symptoms. For instance, your risk of developing tinnitus will be decreased 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?
Diet by itself isn’t likely to significantly change your hearing, and actually, you’d probably have to have a fairly severe deficiency for this to be the cause. Other problems, such as exposure to loud noise, are much more likely to impact your hearing. But your general health depends on a healthy diet.
There are some substantive and practical insights that we can get from this research:
- Quantities vary: Sure, you need a certain amount of vitamin B12 (for instance) to keep your hearing healthy. Getting less than that could increase your susceptibility to tinnitus. But your ears won’t necessarily be healthy just because you get enough B12. Always speak with your physician about any supplements you take because getting too little or too much of these elements can be unhealthy.
- Always get your hearing checked by a professional: Come in and get your hearing tested if you’re experiencing tinnitus or hearing loss. We will help you determine what type and degree of hearing loss you’re coping with and how to best address it.
- Nutrients are important: Your diet is going to have an impact on your hearing health. Obviously, your hearing will be helped by a healthy diet. But more than that, we can easily see how malnutrition can cause issues like tinnitus. This can be especially important to take note of when individuals aren’t taking in the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that they require.
- Safeguarding your ears takes many approaches: As reported by this study, eating a healthy diet can help lower your susceptibility to tinnitus and other inner ear ailments. That doesn’t mean you’re no longer at risk. It just means that your ears are a bit more robust. You’ll need a more extensive approach if you truly want to be protected from the chances of tinnitus. This might mean using earmuffs or earplugs to ensure volume levels remain safe.
Real life doesn’t always mirror the research
And, lastly, it’s significant to note that, while this research is impressive and fascinating, it’s not the last word on the matter. More research needs to be conducted on this topic to verify these conclusions, or to improve them, or challenge them. 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 prevent tinnitus. It may mean using a multi-faceted strategy in order to avoid tinnitus in the first place. Diet can be one of those prongs, sure (eat that banana). But it’s crucial that you don’t forget about tried and tested techniques, and that you focus on protecting your hearing health as much as you can.
We can help, so if you’re experiencing hearing problems, call us.