Man looking for snacks in the refrigerator late night.

You’re feeling hungry so you go to your fridge for a little bite to eat. Will it be something salty… what about crackers? Oooo, chips! There’s a leftover slice of cheesecake that would be yummy.

On second thought, maybe you should just have a banana. A banana is a healthier choice after all.

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

Tinnitus and your diet

The official publication of the American Auditory Society, called Ear and Hearing, published research that looked at the diets of a wide variety of individuals. The data shows that what you eat could increase or diminish your susceptibility to some inner ear conditions, tinnitus among them. And your chance of getting tinnitus increases, particularly when your diet is lacking vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12 wasn’t the only nutrient that was linked to tinnitus symptoms. Eating too much calcium, iron, or fat could raise your risk of developing tinnitus as well.

And there’s more. This research also showed that tinnitus symptoms can also be influenced by dietary patterns. For instance, your risk of developing tinnitus will be reduced by a diet high in protein. Needless to say, low-fat diets that were high in fruits, vegetables, and meats also seemed pretty good for your ears.

Does this suggest you should change your diet?

You would need to have an extremely deficient diet in order for that to be the cause, so modifying your diet alone likely won’t have a significant effect. Other issues, such as exposure to loud sound, are much more likely to affect your hearing. But your general health depends on a healthy diet.

This research has uncovered some practical and meaningful insights:

  • Get your hearing tested professionally: Come in and get your hearing evaluated if you’re experiencing tinnitus or hearing loss. We will help you determine what type and level of hearing loss you’re coping with and how to best manage it.
  • Quantities vary: Sure, you require a certain amount of vitamin B12 (for example) to keep your ears 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. Always speak with your physician about any supplements you take because getting too little or too much of these nutrients can be unhealthy.
  • Protecting your ears takes many strategies: The risk of tinnitus and other inner ear conditions can be reduced by eating a healthy diet, according to this research. But that doesn’t mean the entire risk has gone away. It simply means that your ears are a bit more resilient. So if you want to lower the chance of tinnitus even further, you’ll have to take an inclusive approach to protect your hearing. This may mean wearing earmuffs or earplugs to guarantee noise levels remain safe.
  • Nutrients are essential: Your overall hearing health will be impacted by what you eat. Clearly, your hearing will be helped by a balanced diet. But beyond that, we can easily see how malnutrition could lead to problems like tinnitus. This can be especially important to take note of when people aren’t taking in the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that they require.

Real life doesn’t always mirror the research

And, lastly, it’s important to note that, while this research is exciting and interesting, it’s not the last word on the topic. In order to validate and sharpen the scope of these conclusions, more research will still have to be carried out. We don’t know, for instance, how much of this connection is causal or correlational.

So we’re a long way from claiming that a vitamin B12 shot will prevent tinnitus. It may mean taking a multi-faceted strategy in order to prevent tinnitus in the first place. One of those facets can definitely be diet. But it’s important that you don’t forget about proven strategies, and that you focus on safeguarding your hearing health as much as possible.

We can help, so if you’re experiencing hearing problems, call us.

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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.