Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

Tinnitus symptoms are almost never constant; it appears difficult to know why and when these sounds occur. Perhaps you’re getting into bed one night and, apparently out of nowhere, your ears begin to ring something fierce. No matter how long you lie there and consider the reason why you hear this buzzing, you can’t identify any triggers during your day: There is no apparent reason why, at 9 PM, ringing starts taking place, no loud music, no loud fire alarms, nothing.

So possibly the food you ate may be the reason. Normally we don’t connect the idea of food with hearing, but there’s a bit of research and evidence to suggest that certain foods can make tinnitus worse. In order to steer clear of those foods, you need to find out what they are.

Which Foods Make Tinnitus Worse?

Let’s just cut right to the chase, shall we? You won’t want to go through a food related tinnitus event so it’s important to know what foods can cause it. Certain foods to avoid might include:


At the top of the list of items to avoid are alcohol and tobacco. You will definitely want to avoid drinking and smoking in order to reduce your chance of a tinnitus flare up’s despite the fact that tobacco isn’t actually a food.

Your overall health can be drastically impacted by tobacco and alcohol particularly your blood pressure. Your tinnitus is increasingly more likely to flare up the more you drink and smoke.


One of the most useful predictors of tinnitus episodes is your blood pressure. When your blood pressure rises, your tinnitus worsens. That’s the reason why when you make your list of foods to stay away from, sodium should be at the top. You’ll want to significantly reduce your sodium consumption whether you use salt on everything or you just love eating french fries.

There are a few foods that you don’t normally consider to be high in sodium like ice cream. But to prevent any sudden tinnitus episodes you will need to keep track of sodium content.

Fast Food

It shouldn’t be shocking that you should stay away from fast food if you are avoiding sodium. Most fast-food places (even the ones that claim they are a healthier option) serve food that is loaded with salt and fat. And, clearly, your blood pressure and your tinnitus will be adversely impacted by this type of diet. Let’s not forget the enormous drinks they serve which are very high in sugar. Yes you guessed it, sugar is next on this list.

Sweets And Sugars

Candy is something that all of us love. Well, maybe not everyone, but most of us. Every once in a while, you’ll come across someone who sincerely prefers veggies over candy. We try not to pass judgment.

Regrettably, sugar can really throw off the equilibrium of glucose in your body. And a tiny disruption of your glucose stability can cause you to have a difficult time sleeping. And the more you toss and turn, the more you begin to listen for that ringing and buzzing.


So, we saved caffeine for last because, well, we get it. This is the one we’re least pleased about needing to eliminate. But drinking caffeine late in the day, whether from coffee, tea, or soda, can really mess up your sleep cycle. And your tinnitus is more likely to flare up if you don’t get quality sleep.

It’s really the lack of sleep, not the caffeine that’s the problem. Drink your coffee or tea in the morning, and switch to a non-caffeinated drink before dinner.

Discover What Works Best For You

This list is by no means comprehensive. Your hearing professional is the ideal place to start when it comes to the dietary changes you need to undertake. And it’s worth remembering that everybody will be impacted differently by dietary modifications, so in order to keep track of what is working and what isn’t, it might be a smart idea to keep a food journal.

Recognizing what foods can trigger a tinnitus flare up can help you make better choices going ahead. When you begin to track what you eat, and what happens to your ears subsequently, you might begin to note patterns, and that can remove some of the mystery out of your tinnitus symptoms.

If you go for that last cup of coffee, at least you know what you’re dealing with.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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