For those unfamiliar with tinnitus, it is a medical condition characterized by constant or intermittent ringing in one or both ears. In some cases, tinnitus is delineated by a buzzing noise in one or both ears as well. According to data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 50 million people in America report experiencing some form of tinnitus. Of those, approximately 20 million describe the condition as burdensome. It is worth noting that tinnitus is far more common among older adults and is more prevalent in men than women.
What Causes Tinnitus?
The ringing or buzzing noise synonymous with tinnitus generally occurs when the hairs inside the inner ear become either bent or broken. When this happens, it triggers electrical impulses in the brain that give way to low-frequency sounds in one or both ears. And these sounds can seem even louder when individuals are in a quiet room. Damage to the tiny hairs inside the inner ear can stem from injuries to the ear or certain chronic diseases, some of which, according to the American Tinnitus Association, include:
- Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism
- Autoimmune disorders
- High Blood Pressure
What You Should Know About Food and Tinnitus
Several studies have shown a possible correlation between some foods and the worsening of tinnitus-related symptoms along with injuries to the ear and chronic diseases. Also noteworthy, nutritional deficiencies, such as low levels of vitamin B12, for example, can make the condition worse as well. That said, some of the foods that can intensify the ringing and buzzing noises in the ears typical of tinnitus include:
Although a morning ritual for most, those who have tinnitus should consider either abstaining or cutting back on their coffee. After all, the caffeine in coffee acts as a stimulant, which can trigger stress and, in turn, intensify tinnitus symptoms.
Another beverage that should be limited or eliminated from your diet if you struggle with tinnitus is alcoholic beverages, especially alcoholic mixed drinks. These beverages contain a fair amount of sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol, maltitol syrup, lactitol, and other sugar forms. These sugars can lead to dehydration and high blood pressure, both of which can worsen tinnitus. It may also be a good idea to consume less sugary foods, such as candies and cakes, as a whole as they can be just as problematic when it comes to tinnitus.
Saturated fat and salt
If you struggle with tinnitus, it would be good to limit your consumption of foods high in saturated fat and salt, such as red meat, cheese, and butter. In short, consuming too much salt can lead to high blood pressure. And a high consumption of saturated fats can give way to atherosclerosis, which not only increases the risk of cardiovascular problems but also worsens tinnitus-related symptoms.
In summary, several things can cause tinnitus and even more that can quickly make the condition worse, including food choice. To learn more about treating and possibly preventing tinnitus, consider speaking with one of our friendly Beltone associates today.