A Ringing Alarm Bell

A Ringing Alarm BellThat ringing in your ear could be more than a hassle – it could be a sign of a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Surprisingly, the key to a problem in the ears can actually be connected to a problem in the gut. But what links the two? The trouble starts at mealtime. Vitamin B12 can ordinarily be found in foods such as eggs, cheese, fish, shellfish, and meat products. A lack of vitamin B12 can lead to health problems such as fatigue – which is why this nutrient is often suggested as a supplement to combat feeling tired – but a healthy diet can often combat this. Normally, the foods that you eat provide the amount of vitamin B12 that you need. If you are experiencing a persistent ringing in your ear, however, this could be a sign that your digestive tract is not absorbing the vitamin properly.

A “ringing” in the ear is medically referred to as tinnitus. Tinnitus manifests in many forms, and may not always sound the same. Sufferers may experience a humming, hum, throbbing, buzzing, or other irritating and inexplicable sounds in one ear or both ears. This can significantly impact a person’s ability to hear, and with that, their ability to enjoy their life normally. There is no known cure for tinnitus, but companies such as Countryside Hearing Aid Services supply aids that can help mask the worst of the symptoms.

Common causes of this condition are hearing deterioration from old age and injuries to the ears, but the causes can also be much stranger, and much more serious. The problem often cannot be solved by aspirin or rest-tinnitus can be a warning sign of a significant underlying condition.

This hearing loss may be more than annoying – it may be a sign of a rare blood disorder called pernicious anemia. Pernicious anemia can cause fatigue, jaundice, shortness of breath, and – ultimately – even tinnitus.

How can a blood disorder cause hearing loss? The answer lies in a person’s stomach lining. To digest B12 effectively, the body requires a specific protein, which is referred to as the “intrinsic factor”. This “intrinsic factor” is made from parietal cells in the stomach lining that release hydrochloric acid. This acid ordinarily breaks down food and releases the B12 within so that the body can absorb it. On rare occasions, however, a person’s body can inadvertently produce antibodies that mistakenly target these parietal cells. These antibodies can prevent the release of the necessary hydrochloric acid, and without this acid, vitamin B12 cannot be released or absorbed.

This can lead to catastrophic results. As a result of this process, a person can then become deficient in vitamin B12, which can have serious health ramifications. In addition to disrupting symptoms to tinnitus, a lack of B12 can lead to disorders such as pernicious anemia. People suffering from this disorder have misshapen red blood cells as a result. With their deformed shape, these cells cannot transport oxygen efficiently, and the patient can suffer from oxygenation problems as a result.

In the face of such an ordeal, what are sufferers to do? Further studies are needed to evaluate how to best treat vitamin B12 efficiently in order to help the body absorb the nutrient properly again. B12 replacement therapy has shown minimal, but not negligible, results. In the meantime, in addition to consulting with a doctor, consider a call to Countrywide Hearing Aid Services. They can provide suggestions for aids that help mask tinnitus symptoms, and with them, a better quality of life.

Hearing loss shouldn’t mean losing your connection to the world around you, and the professionals at Countryside Hearing Aid Services are ready to help you regain control over your hearing again.

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