Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

There is an inconsistency in tinnitus symptoms; they seem to come and go, at times for no discernible reason at all. Perhaps you’re getting into bed one night and, seemingly out of nowhere, your ears start ringing something fierce. As you lie in bed, you consider your day, and there aren’t any clear causes for this episode: There is no tangible reason why, at 9 PM, ringing is happening, no noisy music, no loud fire alarms, nothing.

So possibly the food you ate might be the answer. We don’t typically 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 avoid those foods, it’s important to know what they are.

Which Foods Make Tinnitus Worse?

Let’s just dive right in, shall we? You don’t want to experience a food triggered tinnitus event so it’s important to find out what foods can trigger it. Some foods to stay away from may include:


Alcohol and tobacco should be high on the list of items to avoid. Alright, alright, “tobacco” isn’t actually food, but if you want to reduce tinnitus flare up’s (and the intensity of those episodes), you’ll abstain from drinking and smoking as much as you can.

Your general health can be drastically affected by tobacco and alcohol specifically your blood pressure. The more you drink (and smoke), the more likely your tinnitus will be to flare up.


Your blood pressure is one of the biggest predictors of tinnitus episodes. Your tinnitus worsens when your blood pressure rises. 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 substantially reduce your sodium intake whether you put salt on everything or you just love eating french fries.

There are many foods that are shockingly high in sodium, too, such as ice cream (which you don’t typically think of as tasting particularly salty). You’ll need to watch out for sodium levels in everything you eat to avoid a surprise tinnitus event.

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 very high in sodium and fat. And, once again, that’s going to have a huge influence on your blood pressure and, hence, your tinnitus. Fast food outlets also normally serve astonishingly large drinks, and those beverages are very high in sugar. Yes you guessed it, sugar is next on the list.

Sugars and Sweets

Candy is something that all of us enjoy. Well, most of us enjoy candy. There is a very small percentage of the population that would actually prefer vegetables. We try not to judge.

Unfortunately, the glucose balance in your body can be seriously disrupted by sugar. And as you’re trying to go to sleep at night, a small disturbance to that balance can mean a lot of tossing and turning. And the more you toss and turn, the more you begin to listen for that buzzing and ringing.


There’s an apparent reason why we kept this one for last. This is the one we’re least pleased about having to eliminate. But your sleep cycle can be substantially impacted if you drink any caffeine later in the day. And the less quality sleep you get, the more your tinnitus is likely to flare up.

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

Learn What Works Best For You

This list is certainly not comprehensive. You’ll want to speak with your hearing specialist about any dietary adjustments you may need to make. Let’s remember that dietary changes impact everyone differently, so it might even be worth keeping a food journal where you can track what impacts you and by how much.

Moving ahead you will have an easier time making wise decisions if you understand how some foods affect you. When you begin tracking how your ears respond to different foods, the cause of your tinnitus may become less incomprehensible.

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


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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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