Man looking for snacks in the refrigerator late night.

You go into the kitchen to find a bite to eat. How about a salty treat… maybe some crackers? Oooo, potato chips! Wait. Maybe this leftover piece of cheesecake.

Actually, maybe you should just eat a banana. A banana is a healthier option after all.

Everything is interconnected in the human body. So the fact that what you eat can impact your ears shouldn’t come as a surprise. For instance, high sodium intake can elevate blood pressure and could make tinnitus symptoms more pronounced. Recent research is suggesting that diet can have a strong impact on the development of tinnitus.

Your diet and tinnitus

Research published in Ear and Hearing, the official publication of the American Auditory Society, observed all kinds of people and took a close look at their diets. The data shows that your diet could increase or diminish your susceptibility to certain inner ear disorders, tinnitus among them. And your risk of developing tinnitus increases, especially when your diet is lacking vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12 wasn’t the only nutrient that was connected with tinnitus symptoms. Eating too much calcium, iron, or fat could increase your chances of getting tinnitus as well.

And there’s more. The researchers also reported that dietary patterns could also cause tinnitus symptoms. For instance, your likelihood of developing tinnitus will be decreased by a diet high in protein. It also appeared that diets low in fat and high in fruits and veggies had a beneficial impact on your hearing.

Does this mean you should change your diet?

Diet by itself isn’t likely to dramatically change your hearing, and actually, you’d probably have to have a pretty significant deficiency for this to be the cause. Other problems, like exposure to loud noise, are far more likely to impact your hearing. Having said that, you should try to maintain a healthy diet for your overall health.

This research has discovered some practical and meaningful insights:

  • Always get your hearing checked by a professional: If you’re suffering from hearing loss or tinnitus, get your hearing tested. We will help you determine what type and degree of hearing loss you’re dealing with and how to best address it.
  • Protecting your ears takes many strategies: According to this research, eating a healthy diet can help reduce your susceptibility to tinnitus and other inner ear conditions. But that doesn’t mean the overall risk has disappeared. It just means that your ears are a bit more resilient. You’ll need a more extensive approach if you truly want to be protected from the risk of tinnitus. This may mean wearing earmuffs or earplugs to ensure noise levels stay safe.
  • Nutrients are important: Your diet will have an impact on your hearing health. It sure seems as if a generally healthy diet will be good for your ears. But more than that, we can definitely see how malnutrition can cause problems such as tinnitus. This can be particularly important to take note of when individuals aren’t taking in the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that they require.
  • 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 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 nutrients could be detrimental to your hearing, so always speak with your doctor about any supplements you consume.

Real life doesn’t always echo the research

While this is exciting research, it’s important to mention that there’s more to be said on the subject. In order to confirm and sharpen the scope of these findings, more research will still have to be carried out. How much of this relationship is causal and how much is correlational is still something that needs to be determined, for example.

So we’re a long way from claiming that a vitamin B12 shot will prevent tinnitus. Keeping that ringing in your ears from surfacing in the first place could mean taking a multi-faceted approach. Diet can be one of those prongs, certainly (eat that banana). But it’s crucial that you take measures to protect your hearing and don’t forget about proven methods.

If you’re experiencing tinnitus, contact us. We can help.

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References

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tinnitus/symptoms-causes
https://journals.lww.com/ear-hearing/Fulltext/2020/03000/Relationship_Between_Diet,_Tinnitus,_and_Hearing.8.aspx

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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