You go into the kitchen to look for a snack. Do you want something salty… what about crackers? Chips sound good! There’s a leftover slice of cheesecake that would be delightful.
On second thought, maybe you should just eat a banana. A banana is a healthier choice obviously.
With the human body, everything is connected. So the fact that what you eat can impact your ears shouldn’t be surprising. For instance, too much sodium can elevate blood pressure and could make tinnitus symptoms more pronounced. Research is adding weight to this idea, suggesting that what you eat could have a direct impact on the manifestation of tinnitus symptoms.
Tinnitus and your diet
A study published in Ear and Hearing, the official publication of the American Auditory Society, sampled all kinds of people and took a close look at their diets. The data indicates that your diet could increase or diminish your susceptibility to some inner ear conditions, tinnitus among them. And, based on the research, a lack of vitamin B12, in particular, could raise your potential for getting tinnitus.
There were nutrients other than 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. This research also revealed that tinnitus symptoms can also be influenced by dietary patterns. In particular, diets high in protein appeared to reduce the risk of developing tinnitus. It also appeared that diets low in fat and high in fruits and veggies had a positive effect on your hearing.
So should you make a change to your diet?
Diet by itself isn’t likely to significantly change your hearing, and in fact, you’d probably have to have a pretty severe deficiency for this to be the cause. Other issues, such as exposure to loud sound, are much more likely to affect your hearing. Having said that, you should try to maintain a healthy diet for your general health.
There are a couple of substantive and useful insights that we can take from this research:
- Nutrients are essential: Your total hearing health will be effected by what you eat. It sure seems as if an overall healthy diet will be good for your ears. So it isn’t difficult to see how problems such as tinnitus can be an outcome of poor nutrition. And with people who are lacking the essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they need, this is particularly true.
- Always get your hearing checked by a professional: If you’re dealing with hearing loss or tinnitus, get your hearing checked. We will be able to help you determine (and correctly manage) any hearing loss.
- 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 your ears won’t necessarily be healthy simply because you get enough B12. Getting too little or too much of these nutrients could be damaging to your hearing, so always speak with your doctor about any supplements you consume.
- Safeguarding your ears takes many strategies: The danger of tinnitus and other inner ear conditions can be lowered by eating a healthy diet, according to this study. That doesn’t mean you’re no longer at risk. It simply gives you better odds of preventing ear conditions. So if you want to decrease the chance of tinnitus even further, you’ll have to take an inclusive approach to protect your hearing. This will often mean safeguarding your ears from loud noise by wearing earplugs or earmuffs
Real life doesn’t always echo the research
While this is exciting research, it’s significant to note that there’s more to be said on the matter. In order to validate and improve the scope of these results, more research will still have to be done. We don’t know, for instance, how much of this relationship is causal or correlational.
So we’re not suggesting that tinnitus can be stopped by a B12 shot alone. Keeping that ringing in your ears from surfacing in the first place may mean taking a multi-faceted approach. One of those facets can definitely be diet. But it’s crucial that you don’t forget about tried and tested strategies, and that you pay attention to protecting your ear health as much as possible.
If you’re experiencing tinnitus, give us a call. We can help.
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