Man looking for snacks in the refrigerator late night.

You walk into the kitchen and you look for a bite to eat. Are you craving a salty treat… maybe some crackers? Oooo, potato chips! Hold up. Maybe this leftover piece of cheesecake.

Perhaps you should just go with a banana on second thought. Of course, a banana is a much healthier choice.

With the human body, everything is connected. So it’s probably not a big surprise that what you eat can impact your ears. If you eat a high sodium diet, for instance, it can raise your blood pressure and that can escalate your tinnitus symptoms. Research is adding weight to this idea, suggesting that what you eat could have a strong influence on the development of tinnitus.

Your diet and tinnitus

Research published in Ear and Hearing, the official journal of the American Auditory Society, sampled a wide variety of people and took a close look at their diets. The data shows that your diet may increase or diminish your susceptibility to specific inner ear conditions, tinnitus among them. And, based on the research, a lack of vitamin B12, particularly, could increase your potential for developing tinnitus.

Vitamin B12 wasn’t the only nutrient that was connected with tinnitus symptoms. Your risk of developing tinnitus also increases if your diet is too high in fat, calcium, and iron.

That’s not all. The researchers also noted that dietary patterns could also cause tinnitus symptoms. For example, your likelihood of developing tinnitus will be reduced by a diet high in protein. It also seemed that diets low in fat and high in fruits and veggies had a beneficial impact on your hearing.

Does this mean you need to change 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 problems, such as exposure to loud noise, are far more likely to impact your hearing. But your general health depends on a healthy diet.

This research has revealed some practical and meaningful insights:

  • Quantities vary: Sure, you require a certain amount of vitamin B12 (for instance) to keep your ears healthy. You will be more vulnerable to tinnitus if you go below this level. But getting more vitamin B12 isn’t necessarily going to make your ears healthier. Getting too little or too much of these elements could be damaging to your hearing, so always speak to your doctor about any supplements you take.
  • Safeguarding your ears takes many approaches: According to this study, eating a healthy diet can help lower your susceptibility to tinnitus and other inner ear conditions. 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 lower the risk of tinnitus even further, you’ll have to take a comprehensive approach to safeguard your hearing. This will often mean safeguarding your hearing from loud noise by using earplugs or earmuffs
  • Get your hearing tested professionally: Come in and get your hearing checked if you’re experiencing hearing loss or tinnitus. We will help you determine what type and level of hearing loss you’re dealing with and how to best treat it.
  • Nutrients are important: Your overall hearing health is going to be impacted by what you eat. It sure seems as if an overall 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. This can be especially important to note when people aren’t getting the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that they require.

Research is one thing, real life is another

While this is inspiring research, it’s important to note that there’s more to be said on the matter. More research needs to be conducted on this topic to validate these conclusions, or to refine them, or challenge them. How much of this connection is causal and how much is correlational is still something that needs to be determined, for instance.

So we’re not implying that tinnitus can be eliminated by a B12 shot alone. It might mean taking a multi-faceted strategy in order to prevent tinnitus in the first place. Diet is one of those prongs, certainly (eat that banana). But it’s important that you don’t forget about proven techniques, and that you focus on safeguarding your hearing health as much as possible.

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

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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.