Although research is inconclusive, experts recommend keeping a food diary to look for patterns.
Do you frequently experience ringing in your ears and wonder if your diet is to blame? Chronic tinnitus is poorly understood, and there is scant evidence to support a definitive link between tinnitus and food. However, many tinnitus patients report that certain foods or beverages aggravate their symptoms. A recent study (discussed further below) also offers some hints.
What is known: Drinking alcohol can be a major cause of tinnitus and hearing problems, but so can many other things we put into our bodies.
For some, this may imply limiting their intake of caffeine or salt. Those items may be useful to others. In essence, each person’s tinnitus food triggers are distinct.
Is it possible that something you’re eating or drinking is causing the ringing in your ears?
What’s the research say?
It’s difficult to study how nutrients affect tinnitus, but a 2020 study attempted to do just that. More than 34,000 UK adults were asked to fill out questionnaires about their hearing problems, tinnitus, and diet. They then attempted to find any similarities between the three, focusing on vitamins and minerals (salt intake was not studied).
A high-fat diet could be harmful.
The study discovered that “higher intakes of calcium, iron, and fat were associated with an increased risk of tinnitus, whereas higher intakes of vitamin B12 and a dietary pattern high in meat intake were associated with a lower risk of tinnitus.”
The researchers believe that fat consumption may have an impact on the health of blood vessels, which are essential for good hearing.
Heart disease and diabetes are both linked to hearing loss due to poor blood vessel health.
The research’s limitations
It’s important to note that the study couldn’t prove cause and effect—it wasn’t designed to see if supplementing with a lot of vitamin B12 would help with hearing problems, for example. It was instead intended to look for patterns in data from people’s self-reported eating habits and tinnitus symptoms. The next step would be a randomized controlled trial in which people’s diets are strictly controlled for a set period of time and their tinnitus symptoms are recorded.
Bottom line: Don’t change your diet based on this one study, but there’s a chance what you’re eating is causing your ears to ring.
What should you do if you want to find out if food is to blame? Most experts advise beginning a food and beverage business. Most experts advise keeping a food and tinnitus diary.
Tinnitus symptoms can be tracked using a food diary.
It may be time-consuming, but it is worthwhile if it improves your quality of life. According to the British Tinnitus Association, “the diary may need to be detailed, specifying what type of meat, vegetable, cheese, fish, and so on was consumed, as one type of vegetable, for example, may aggravate the tinnitus while others have no effect.” Pay attention to your tinnitus and make detailed notes of any starts, stops, or changes in noise intensity.
The British Tinnitus Association recommends that a food suspected of causing tinnitus be avoided for a week. You can put your system to the test by reintroducing that food, withdrawing it, reintroducing it, and withdrawing it again to see how it affects your tinnitus.
Keeping a food diary may provide insight into your dietary and tinnitus patterns, which may or may not reveal a link. Based on that correlation, you can decide whether or not to make changes in order to find the relief you seek. What is most important is to provide your body with the diet that it prefers and that reduces agonizing tinnitus. Perhaps that means no more than one glass of red wine per day, or perhaps no wine at all. Perhaps that means no cheese, chocolate, red meat, or coffee. Or you may discover that you have no food triggers.
Salt is a known trigger for Meniere’s disease.
Salt aids in fluid retention and is an electrolyte that we all require in our diets. However, eating a lot of salty processed foods can aggravate high blood pressure and fluid retention. This is especially true for people suffering from Meniere’s disease, an inner ear disorder characterized by dizziness, hearing loss, and tinnitus, often in only one ear. Tinnitus can be reduced in people with Meniere’s disease by eating a low-salt diet.
Tinnitus and hearing loss frequently coexist. Visit our directory to locate tinnitus clinics in your area that can determine if your tinnitus is accompanied by hearing loss. Tinnitus can often be reduced by simply wearing hearing aids. Other treatment options are available as well. Please keep in mind that not all hearing clinics treat tinnitus, so you may have to look through several clinic pages to find the right one.