There is currently no scientific evidence to indicate that food has an impact on tinnitus. But the American Tinnitus Association has noted that many sufferers report a worsening in symptoms after eating sugar-laden foods.
Tinnitus is considered a heterogeneous condition, meaning it’s different for each person affected. This means that the foods that worsen or lesson symptoms of tinnitus will vary from one person to the next. However, there are a number of commonly reported food groups that sufferers of tinnitus report worsen or lessen their symptoms.
Excess sugar in the blood supply has the potential to damage nerves and blood vessels. Blood flow is essential for oxygen and energy supply to the ears and brain.
Reduce your sugar intake and ask your physician for a blood glucose test, to rule out a condition called hyperinsulinemia which causes high blood insulin and impacts glucose regulation. A 2004 study demonstrated that between 84-92% of people who report symptoms of tinnitus also have hyperinsulinemia.
Reducing your sugar intake could lead to use of artificial sweeteners. Unfortunately, many people report that their white noise symptoms reduced significantly after cutting back on sweeteners. (Sweetener is often found in “diet” products.)
Sodium restricts blood vessels and increases blood pressure, restricting blood flow to the ears and brain. This could impact hearing and possibly increase symptoms of tinnitus. (Canned and processed foods often have high sodium content.)
Saturated and Trans Fat
Saturated and trans fats can reduce blood flow. Reducing your intake has many health benefits, including helping to protect the delicate blood vessels in your auditory system. Damage to these blood vessels can lead to hearing loss and /or symptoms of tinnitus.
Carbon monoxide and nicotine reduce blood flow and oxygen levels in the blood. Nicotine can also confuse auditory neurotransmitters, over time this re-trains how your brain interprets sound.
This flavor enhancer is found in many foods, particularly pre-packaged and processed food items. Consuming MSG basically increases levels of electrical activity in the brain, including where loud tinnitus noises are perceived. Many tinnitus sufferers found symptoms improved when intake reduced. (This may require buying whole and organic food and checking labels.)
If you’re planning on tracking foods that impact your tinnitus, we recommend recording everything in a food journal. This includes drinks and alcohol. Record what time you ate and how much you ate (or drank!). Finally, mark down the symptoms of your tinnitus the following day. If you notice a potential trigger item, avoid it for one week. Then try to gradually re-introduce it and monitor your symptoms. After a period of time, you should get a clear picture about what foods or drinks to limit.
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