Man looking for snacks in the refrigerator late night.

You’re starving so you go to your fridge for a little bite to eat. Are you craving a salty treat… maybe some 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 after all.

Everything is interrelated in the human body. So it’s probably not a huge surprise that your diet can impact your ears. For example, too much sodium can increase blood pressure and could make tinnitus symptoms more noticeable. Research is adding weight to this notion, suggesting that your diet could have a direct influence on the manifestation of tinnitus symptoms.

Tinnitus and your diet

The official journal of the American Auditory Society, called Ear and Hearing, published research that observed the diets of a wide variety of people. Your danger of certain inner ear disorders, including tinnitus, increases or diminishes depending on what you eat. And, based on the research, a lack of vitamin B12, in particular, could increase your potential for developing tinnitus.

Vitamin B12 wasn’t the only nutrient that was associated with tinnitus symptoms. Consuming too much calcium, iron, or fat could raise your chances of developing tinnitus too.

And there’s more. This research also showed that tinnitus symptoms can also be influenced by dietary patterns. Particularly, diets high in protein appeared to decrease the likelihood of developing tinnitus. Needless to say, low-fat diets that were high in fruits, vegetables, and meats also appeared fairly good for your ears.

So should you make a change to your diet?

You would have to have a seriously deficient diet in order for that to be the cause, so modifying your diet alone likely won’t have a significant effect. Other issues, like exposure to loud sound, are much more likely to affect your hearing. Having said that, you should attempt to sustain a healthy diet for your overall health.

There are a few meaningful and practical insights that we can take from this research:

  • Always get your hearing checked by a professional: If you’re dealing with hearing loss or tinnitus, get your hearing tested. We will help you determine what type and level of hearing loss you’re coping with and how to best address it.
  • Quantities vary: Sure, you require a certain amount of vitamin B12 (for instance) to keep your hearing healthy. You will be more susceptible to tinnitus if you get less than this. But getting more vitamin B12 won’t necessarily make your ears healthier. Getting too little or too much of these elements could be detrimental to your hearing, so always speak with your doctor about any supplements you consume.
  • Nutrients are important: Your overall hearing health is going to be effected by your diet. Obviously, your hearing will be benefited by a balanced diet. But beyond that, we can easily see how malnutrition could cause problems like tinnitus. This can be especially important to note when people aren’t getting the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that they need.
  • Safeguarding your ears takes many strategies: The risk of tinnitus and other inner ear disorders can be decreased by eating a healthy diet, according to this research. But that doesn’t mean the overall risk has gone away. It just means that your ears are a bit more robust. So if you want to decrease the chance of tinnitus even further, you’ll have to take a comprehensive approach to protect your hearing. This will frequently mean protecting your ears from loud noise by wearing earplugs or earmuffs

Real life doesn’t always mirror the research

And, lastly, it’s important to note that, while this research is exciting and fascinating, it isn’t the final word on the topic. In order to verify and improve the scope of these conclusions, more research will still have to be carried out. We’re not sure, for instance, how much of this connection is causal or correlational.

So we’re not implying that tinnitus can be prevented by a B12 shot alone. Keeping that ringing in your ears from surfacing from the start may mean taking a multi-faceted approach. One of those facets can definitely be diet. But it’s essential that you don’t forget about tried and tested techniques, and that you focus on protecting your ear health as much as you can.

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

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References

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.