Man looking for snacks in the refrigerator late night.

You’re feeling hungry so you go to your fridge for a snack. Are you craving a salty treat… maybe some crackers? Oooo, potato chips! Wait. Maybe this leftover piece of cheesecake.

Actually, maybe you should just eat a banana. After all, a banana is a much healthier choice.

With the human body, everything is connected. So the fact that your diet can affect your ears shouldn’t come as a surprise. If you consume a diet high in sodium, for instance, it can elevate your blood pressure which can escalate your tinnitus symptoms. Recent research is suggesting that diet can have a direct influence on the development of tinnitus symptoms.

Your diet and tinnitus

A study published in Ear and Hearing, the official journal of the American Auditory Society, observed a wide variety of people and looked closely at their diets. The data indicates that your diet may increase or diminish your susceptibility to some inner ear conditions, tinnitus among them. And your risk of developing tinnitus increases, especially when your diet is lacking vitamin B12.

There were nutrients other than B12 that were linked to tinnitus symptoms. Your chance of developing tinnitus also increases if your diet is too rich in fat, calcium, and iron.

That’s not all. The researchers also observed that dietary patterns may also cause tinnitus symptoms. In particular, diets high in protein appeared to decrease the risk of developing tinnitus. Not surprisingly, low-fat diets that were high in fruits, vegetables, and meats also appeared fairly good for your ears.

Does this suggest you should change your diet?

You would need to have a seriously deficient diet in order for that to be the cause, so modifying your diet alone probably won’t have a significant impact. Other problems, like exposure to loud sound, are far more likely to impact your hearing. That said, you should try to keep a healthy diet for your general health.

There are a couple of substantive and useful insights that we can get from this research:

  • Always get your hearing checked by a professional: Come in and get your hearing evaluated if you’re experiencing hearing loss or tinnitus. We will be able to help you determine (and properly manage) any hearing loss.
  • Nutrients are essential: Your diet is going to have an effect on your hearing health. It sure seems like an overall healthy diet will be good for your ears. But more than that, we can easily see how malnutrition can lead to issues such as tinnitus. This can be especially important to take note of when individuals aren’t taking in the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that they need.
  • Quantities vary: Certainly, if you want to keep your ears healthy you need a certain amount of B12 in your diet. You will be more susceptible to tinnitus if you get less than this. But getting more vitamin B12 isn’t necessarily going to make your ears healthier. Always talk to your doctor about any supplements you take because getting too little or too much of these elements can be unhealthy.
  • Protecting your ears takes many approaches: According to this study, eating a good diet can help lower your vulnerability to tinnitus and other inner ear ailments. That doesn’t mean you’re no longer at risk. It just gives you better odds of preventing ear conditions. You’ll need a more comprehensive approach if you truly want to be protected from the chances of tinnitus. This may mean wearing earmuffs or earplugs to ensure noise levels remain safe.

Real life doesn’t always mirror the research

And, lastly, it’s important to note that, while this research is impressive and interesting, it isn’t the final word on the matter. In order to validate and improve the scope of these results, more research will still need to be done. How much of this connection is causal and how much is correlational is still something that needs to be determined, for example.

So we’re a long way from saying 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. One of those facets can certainly be diet. But it’s crucial that you take measures to safeguard your hearing and don’t forget about established strategies.

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

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