What’s that annoying ringing only you can hear?
Tinnitus is the medical term used to describe a phantom sound heard by patients. The exact cause of the condition is unknown but it is considered to be a defect in the auditory system of the patient. There are a variety of tinnitus sounds that are experienced by patients and most people hear just one sound at a time. About 17% of people in the US suffer from tinnitus and a few of the cases are so severe that patients seek medical or surgical intervention to control the problem.
Causes of tinnitus
The exact cause of tinnitus is not known. There may be clear causes like underlying medical conditions of the auditory nerve in the form of cancer, continuous exposure to loud sounds, certain varieties of medication, allergies, and stress and ear infections. However, one of the major causes of tinnitus is considered to be diet and food items. Patients have stated that controlling their diet by restricting certain foods can actually reduce the ringing sensation in their ears. However, this effect may vary from patient to patient. Doctors recommend a complete medical check-up. If no physical defects are noted and tinnitus persists, then a complete dietary evaluation combined with relaxation procedures like yoga and biofeedback may help in controlling the condition.
Foods to avoid for ringing ears
- Salt is one of the primary ingredients which can exacerbate the tinnitus. Salt can increase blood pressure leading to a rushing of blood inside the small capillaries of the ear. This rushing sensation combined with a decrease in the width of the capillaries may cause tinnitus. Processed foods which contain a large amount of salt should be avoided for this reason.
- Sugar is very essential for the brain to work effectively. A few patients suffer from hyperinsulinemia which leads to low blood sugar. A low level of blood sugar can cause brain cells to starve. This is manifested as tinnitus.
- Food additives in the form of artificial sweeteners like aspartame and flavor enhancers like MSG are also thought to cause tinnitus.
- Bad fats in the form of saturated fats and trans fats are thought to increased tinnitus but research is still on. Most food items are now free of tans fats but it is recommended that you check the food labels before consumption.
- Other food items like red wine, red meat, chocolate, soy products, honey, raw banana, strawberries and cheese can also aggravate the condition in a few patients.
This is not a complete list as assorted food items may cause tinnitus depending on the patient’s individual physical disposition. Keeping a food diary for a month and noting down food items that exacerbate your tinnitus could be a better way to proceed. Another way to control the condition is by switching over to a fresh food and vegetable diet like the Mediterranean diet. Increasing physical exercise, quitting alcohol and smoking and reducing stress can also have a beneficial effect. If the condition, become annoying or painful and is accompanied with sudden weight loss; get in touch with your doctor right away.