Tinnitus is the medical term for ringing sounds in your ears when no outside source is present. It affects one in five people, and may be caused or worsened by age-related hearing loss, earwax buildup, loud noise and various medical conditions. Tinnitus that occurs after eating may be influenced by your food choices. Dietary changes may thus help manage your symptoms.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Conditions that affect the parts of your inner ear and brain that process sensory information involved with eye movements and your sense of balance are called vestibular disorders. Examples include migraine headaches and Meniere's disease. In addition to causing vertigo, or the perception that you or your surroundings are spinning, vestibular disorders can cause tinnitus. Certain foods and beverages can disrupt the fluid levels in your ears and body, according to the Vestibular Disorders Association, increasing your risk for tinnitus and other vestibular problems 2.
VEDA recommends avoiding foods and drinks with high salt or sugar content. Salt is a top source of sodium, which can interfere with fluid regulation when consumed in excess. Salty foods may also contribute to high blood pressure -- another potential cause of tinnitus. Particularly salty foods include canned foods, potato chips, crackers, processed meats and cheeses, frozen entrees and fast food. Sugary foods that may cause problems include table sugar, honey, regular soft drinks, candy, pancake syrup, jelly, jam and frosting. Caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, such as coffee, beer and wine, may also contribute to your symptoms. If your symptoms are associated with migraines, avoid common migraine triggers, such as aged cheeses, smoked meats, red wine, chocolate, citrus fruits and bananas.
Replacing foods that worsen tinnitus with alternate options may help reduce the frequency or intensity of your symptoms. Choose whole grain breads, cereals and rice, for example, over sugary cereals, candy and pastries. Halibut, nuts, seeds and whole grains are rich sources of magnesium -- a mineral people prone to migraines may lack, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center 13. Staying well-hydrated may help minimize tinnitus symptoms associated with low fluid levels, particularly if you partake in vigorous exercise or spend time in hot weather.
Stress and depression can worsen tinnitus. Psychotherapy, medication, regular exercise and participating in hobbies or work you enjoy may help manage depressive moods and stressful situations. Eating balanced meals and snacks at regular time intervals may also guard against mood swings and fluid imbalances. If your symptoms peak after eating particular foods, you may be best off avoiding them. Tracking your food intake and symptoms in a journal may help you determine your personal triggers. If your symptoms are severe or long-lasting, seek guidance from your doctor.
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