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Man looking for snacks in the refrigerator late night.

You go into the kitchen and you look for a snack. How about a salty treat… how about crackers? Potato 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 option after all.

Everything is interconnected in the human body. So the fact that your diet can impact your ears shouldn’t be surprising. If you consume a high sodium diet, for instance, it can raise your blood pressure which can increase your tinnitus symptoms. Recent research is suggesting that diet can have a direct influence on the development of tinnitus.

Tinnitus and your diet

Research published in Ear and Hearing, the official journal of the American Auditory Society, sampled all kinds of people and looked closely at their diets. Your danger of certain inner ear conditions, including tinnitus, increases or diminishes depending on what you eat. And your chance of getting tinnitus increases, especially when your diet is lacking vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12 wasn’t the only nutrient that was linked to tinnitus symptoms. Your risk of getting tinnitus also increases if your diet is too rich in fat, calcium, and iron.

That’s not all. The researchers also reported that dietary patterns may also cause tinnitus symptoms. For instance, your risk of developing tinnitus will be decreased by a diet high in protein. Needless to say, low-fat diets that were high in fruits, vegetables, and meats also appeared fairly good for your ears.

Does this mean you need to change your diet?

Diet by itself isn’t likely to significantly change your hearing, and in fact, you’d most likely have to have a fairly significant deficiency for this to be the cause. Your hearing is much more likely to be impacted by other things, like exposure to loud sound. But your overall health depends on a healthy diet.

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

  • Nutrients are important: Your diet will have an impact on the health of your hearing. 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 lead to problems such as tinnitus. And with individuals who are lacking the essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they need, this is especially true.
  • Protecting your ears takes many strategies: The risk of tinnitus and other inner ear conditions can be decreased by eating a healthy diet, according to this study. That doesn’t mean you’re not still at risk. It simply means that your ears are a little more resilient. So if you want to reduce the chance of tinnitus even more, you’ll have to take an inclusive approach to protect your ears. This might mean wearing earmuffs or earplugs to make sure noise levels remain safe.
  • Get your hearing tested professionally: If you’re dealing with hearing loss or tinnitus, get your hearing tested. We can help you figure out what type and degree of hearing loss you’re dealing with and how to best treat it.
  • Quantities vary: Certainly, if you want to keep your ears 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 just because you get enough B12. Getting too little or too much of these elements could be detrimental to your hearing, so always talk with your doctor about any supplements you consume.

Real life doesn’t always echo the research

While this is inspiring research, it’s significant to note that there’s more to be said on the subject. In order to verify and improve the scope of these results, more research will still need to be done. How much of this relationship is causal and how much is correlational is still something that needs to be established, for instance.

So we’re far from claiming that a vitamin B12 shot will stop tinnitus. 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 crucial to take measures to safeguard your hearing and don’t forget about established strategies.

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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