Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

There is an inconsistency in symptoms of tinnitus; they seem to appear and vanish, at times for no evident reason at all. Occasionally, it seems as if, for no apparent reason what so ever, your ears just begin to buzz. As you lie in bed, you consider your day, and there aren’t any clear causes for this event: no loud music, no shrieking fire alarms, nothing that would explain why your tinnitus chose 9 PM to flare up.

So perhaps the food you ate may be the answer. Ordinarily we don’t link the idea of food with hearing, but there’s a bit of research and evidence to suggest that tinnitus can be made worse by particular foods. The key for you is identifying what those foods are, so you can steer clear of them.

What Foods Worsen Tinnitus?

Let’s just cut right to the chase, shall we? You don’t want to go through a food related tinnitus episode so it’s important to find out what foods can cause it. Some foods to avoid may include:

Alcoholic Drinks

Alcohol and tobacco should be at the top of the list of items to stay clear of. Alright, okay, “tobacco” isn’t actually food, but if you want to lessen tinnitus episodes (and the intensity of those episodes), you’ll steer clear of drinking and smoking as much as you can.

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


One of the best predictors of tinnitus episodes is your blood pressure. When your blood pressure goes up, your tinnitus becomes worse. That’s the reason why when you create your list of foods to stay away from, sodium should be at the top. You’ll want to drastically decrease your sodium intake whether you use salt on everything or you just love to eat french fries.

There are a few foods that you don’t commonly consider to be high in sodium such as ice cream. But to prevent any sudden tinnitus episodes you will need to keep your eye on sodium content.

Fast Food

It shouldn’t be surprising that you should stay away from fast food if you are avoiding sodium. The majority of fast-food joints (even the ones that bill themselves as a healthier choice) serve food that is jam-packed with salt and fat. And, clearly, your blood pressure and your tinnitus will be negatively impacted by this kind of diet. Let’s not forget the giant drinks they serve that are very high in sugar. Which brings us to the next food to avoid.

Sweets And Sugars

Candy is something that we all enjoy. Well, the majority of us love candy. Every now and then, you’ll encounter someone who sincerely prefers veggies over chocolate. No judgment from us.

Sadly, sugar can completely throw off the stability of glucose in your body. And a tiny disturbance of your glucose balance can cause you to have a hard time sleeping. In the quiet of the night, while you lie there awake, it becomes a lot easier to start to hear that ringing.


So, we saved this one for last because, well, it’s a tough one. This is the one we’re least happy about needing to eliminate. But your sleep cycle can be dramatically impacted if you drink any caffeine late in the day. And the less quality sleep you get, the more your tinnitus is likely to flare up.

It’s actually the lack of sleep, not the caffeine that’s the problem. Switch over to a beverage that doesn’t have caffeine in the evenings and save your caffeine for the morning.

What Are Your Smartest Practices?

This is definitely not an exhaustive list. You’ll want to consult your hearing professional about any dietary adjustments you might need to make. And it’s worth remembering that everybody will be impacted differently by dietary modifications, so in order to keep track of what works and what doesn’t, it may be a good idea to keep a food journal.

Going ahead you will have an easier time making practical decisions if you recognize how particular foods affect you. When you begin tracking what you eat, and what happens to your ears subsequently, you might begin to note patterns, and that can take some of the mystery out of your tinnitus symptoms.

If you go for that evening of coffee, at least you know what you’re in for.

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