Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

There is an inconsistency in tinnitus symptoms; it seems difficult to know when and why these sounds occur. Maybe you’re climbing into bed one night and, evidently without warning, your ears start ringing badly. No matter how much you lie in bed and contemplate the reason why you’re hearing this buzzing, you can’t come up with any triggers in your day: no loud music, no shrieking fire alarms, nothing that would explain why your tinnitus chose 9 PM to mount a flare-up.

So maybe it’s the food. Normally we don’t link the idea of food with hearing, but there’s a bit of research and evidence to suggest that some foods can make tinnitus worse. In order to avoid those foods, you need to find out what they are.

What Foods Worsen Tinnitus?

So let’s get right to it. You don’t want to experience a food related tinnitus event so you need to identify what foods can trigger 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 abstain from smoking and drinking in order to reduce your risk of a tinnitus episode despite the fact that tobacco isn’t really a food.

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


Your blood pressure is one of the most significant predictors of tinnitus flare ups. When your blood pressure rises, your tinnitus gets worse. That’s why sodium should definitely be on your list of food substances to avoid. Whether you enjoy french fries or just put salt on everything, you’ll want to ease up a lot.

There are a few foods that you don’t normally consider high in sodium including ice cream. But to avoid any sudden tinnitus episodes you will need to keep your eye on sodium content.

Fast Food

If you’re steering clear of sodium, it should come as no shock that you should also be avoiding fast food. The majority of fast-food restaurants (even the ones that bill themselves as a healthier alternative) serve food that is packed with salt and fat. And, once again, that’s going to have a big influence on your blood pressure and, consequently, your tinnitus. Fast food outlets also tend to serve astonishingly large beverages, and those beverages are very high in sugar. Which brings up the next food you should avoid.

Sweets And Sugars

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

Unfortunately, sugar can completely throw off the stability of glucose in your body. And a small disturbance of your glucose balance can cause you to have a hard 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 pleased about having to give up. But your sleep cycle can be dramatically impacted if you have any caffeine late in the day. And the less quality sleep you get, the more likely your tinnitus is to flare up.

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

What Are Your Best Practices?

This list is certainly not comprehensive. Your hearing specialist is the ideal place to start regarding the dietary changes you need to undertake. And it’s worth bearing in mind that everyone will be impacted differently by dietary adjustments, so in order to keep track of what is working and what isn’t, it might be a good idea to keep a food journal.

Understanding what foods can lead to a tinnitus episode can help you make wiser decisions going ahead. When you begin to track what you eat, and what happens to your ears subsequently, you may start to detect patterns, and that can remove some of the mystery out of your tinnitus symptoms.

Then you will appreciate if you are going to regret that late cup of coffee.

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