Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

Tinnitus symptoms are almost never continuous; it appears difficult to know when and why these sounds occur. Maybe you’re getting into bed one night and, evidently out of the blue, your ears begin to ring something fierce. No matter how much you lie in bed and contemplate the reason why you’re hearing this buzzing, you can’t think of any triggers in your day: There is no noticeable reason why, at 9 PM, ringing starts happening, no loud music, no loud fire alarms, nothing.

So possibly the food you ate could be the reason. We don’t generally think about the link between hearing and food, but there’s a bit of research and evidence to suggest that tinnitus can be made worse by certain foods. In order to steer clear of those foods, it’s important to find out what they are.

Some Foods That Activate Tinnitus

So let’s get right down to it. You won’t want to go through a food related tinnitus event so you need to recognize which foods can cause it. Certain foods to avoid might include:


High on the list of items to steer clear of are alcohol and tobacco. Okay, okay, “tobacco” isn’t actually food, but if you want to lessen tinnitus attacks (and the intensity of those episodes), you’ll avoid smoking and drinking as much as you can.

Both tobacco and alcohol products can have a significant impact on your blood pressure (to say nothing of your general health). The more you drink (and smoke), the more likely your tinnitus will be to flare up.


One of the best predictors of tinnitus flare-ups is your blood pressure. Your tinnitus gets worse when your blood pressure rises. That’s why when you create your list of foods to avoid, sodium should be at the top. Whether you love eating french fries or just put salt on everything, you’ll want to ease up a lot.

There are certain foods that are remarkably high in sodium, too, like ice cream (which you don’t normally think of as tasting very salty). But to prevent any sudden tinnitus episodes you will want to keep track of sodium content.

Fast Food

It shouldn’t be surprising that you should stay away from fast food if you are avoiding sodium. Even fast food joints that say they are a more healthy alternative serve food that is extremely high in sodium and fat. And, once again, that’s going to have a substantial influence on your blood pressure and, therefore, your tinnitus. Let’s not forget the huge drinks they serve that are very high in sugar. Yes you guessed it, sugar is next on this list.

Sugars and Sweets

Candy is something that all of us enjoy. Well, maybe not everyone, but the majority of us. There is a very small percentage of the populace that would actually prefer vegetables. No judgment here.

However, the glucose balance in your body can be significantly disrupted by sugar. And a tiny disturbance of your glucose balance can cause you to have a difficult time trying to sleep. And the more you toss and turn, the more you begin to listen for that buzzing and ringing.


So, we saved caffeine for last because, well, we get it. This is the one we’re least positive about having to eliminate. But your sleep cycle can be significantly impacted if you have any caffeine late in the day. And your tinnitus is more likely to appear if you aren’t getting quality sleep.

So it’s not actually the caffeine by itself that’s the problem, it’s the lack of sleep. Switch over to a drink that doesn’t have caffeine at night and save your caffeine for the morning.

What Are Your Smartest Practices?

This list is by no means comprehensive. Your hearing professional is the best place to begin concerning the dietary changes you need to make. And it’s worth bearing in mind that everyone will be impacted differently by dietary changes, so in order to keep track of what works and what doesn’t, it may be a good idea to keep a food journal.

Being aware of what foods can cause a tinnitus episode can help you make wiser decisions going ahead. When you start to track what you eat, and what happens to your ears subsequently, you might start to note patterns, and that can remove some of the mystery out of your tinnitus symptoms.

Then you will appreciate if you are going to be sorry for that late cup of coffee.


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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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