We all know that eating a whole, nutrient-dense diet is necessary for a healthy heart, waistline, and cognitive function. But did you also know that what you eat affects your hearing?
Of course, this isn’t to say that consuming a broccoli crown with dinner will immediately reduce tinnitus symptoms (although it certainly can’t hurt to try). Still, there are some foods to be aware of if you are dealing with hearing loss or tinnitus.
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, tinnitus can be described as different pitches of sound within the ears, typically ringing or buzzing. Although the volume of the noise and what sound is actually being made will vary from person to person, one thing remains the same: only the person hearing it hears the noise, no one else.
Various factors can cause tinnitus, including infections, chronic exposure to loud noises, hormone changes, typical aging, heart disease, and even certain medications. Almost 25 million people in the United States are dealing with tinnitus. So a proper treatment plan for the humming, ringing, or clicking sound is crucial.
The thing is, specific circuits within the brain interpret sounds that are associated with tinnitus, and these circuits can be affected by the foods that we eat. Of course, first and foremost, if you hear anything unusual, always speak with your physician – that way, they can rule out any life-threatening injuries or issues.
From there, and with a proper diagnosis, you can look deeper into lifestyle factors contributing to tinnitus, and your diet should be one of those areas to observe.
Diet and Tinnitus
According to research, quite a few foods can adversely affect your hearing. Let’s take a look at some below.
Processed, Packaged, and Fast Food
If you’ve ever mopped the grease off a cheesy pizza, then you’re probably well aware of how much fat and sodium can be lurking on top of your yummy ingredients. Unless you’re making your food at home, you can rest assured that many fast food joints have meals loaded with sodium – and that same sodium can raise your blood pressure.
So what’s the correlation? An increase in blood pressure increases pressure on the vessels throughout the body….including the ones in your ears. This can then make your tinnitus flare.
Similar to the effects of fast food, caffeine also can raise your blood pressure, thus negatively affecting tinnitus. Whether you reach for a cup of coffee in the morning and soon after noticed a rushing or humming sound, or you stop for a quick energy drink in the afternoon and then the ringing starts, caffeine in any form can undoubtedly impact the symptoms of tinnitus.
Reducing caffeine consumption (or cutting it out completely) can help reduce tinnitus.
If you’ve gone to happy hour with friends and indulged in a glass or two of wine, you might notice your tinnitus symptoms worsening. This is because, like caffeine and fast food, alcohol raises your blood pressure while also making you dehydrated–both of which negatively impact tinnitus.
If you’re going to partake in alcoholic beverages, try and limit your consumption while having a glass of water in between drinks. This can help you stay hydrated and reduce unwanted symptoms of tinnitus.
These are only three different types of foods and drinks that can impact your tinnitus. After speaking with your physician, eliminating (or even reducing processed foods), caffeine and alcohol from your diet might begin to improve your tinnitus. Add more lean protein, fruits, and vegetables for a healthy, well-rounded diet.
However, if you’ve taken these steps and made healthier lifestyle changes but are still experiencing tinnitus, it’s time to delve further into treatment.
This is where El Dorado Hearing can help! The hearing specialists will get you the answers you need to treat your hearing loss and tinnitus successfully. Reach out today and take charge of improving your hearing and, in turn, your life.