Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

There is an inconsistency in symptoms of tinnitus; it seems difficult to know why and when these sounds occur. Sometimes, it seems like, for no recognizable reason what so ever, your ears just begin to buzz. No matter how long you lie in bed and contemplate the reason why you’re hearing this buzzing, you can’t come up with any triggers during your day: There is no discernible reason why, at 9 PM, ringing is taking place, no loud music, no loud fire alarms, nothing.

So maybe it’s the food. Typically we don’t associate 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 avoid those foods, you need to recognize what they are.

What Foods Worsen Tinnitus?

Let’s just cut right to the chase, shall we? You want to identify which foods you should stay away from so you can make sure you never have to go through one of those food-produced tinnitus attacks again. Here are some foods to stay away from:

Alcoholic Drinks

Alcohol and tobacco should be at the top of the list of items to stay clear of. Alright, alright, “tobacco” isn’t necessarily food, but if you want to minimize tinnitus attacks (and the intensity of those episodes), you’ll avoid drinking and smoking as much as possible.

Your general health can be substantially affected by alcohol and tobacco particularly your blood pressure. 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 the reason why when you make your list of foods to stay away from, sodium should be at the top. Whether you love french fries or just put salt on everything, you’ll want to cut way, way back.

There are certain foods that you don’t normally consider to be high in sodium such as ice cream. You’ll want to watch out for sodium levels in anything you eat to avoid a surprise tinnitus episode.

Fast Food

If you’re keeping away from sodium, it should come as no surprise that you should also be avoiding fast food. The majority of fast-food restaurants (even the ones that bill themselves as a healthier option) serve food that is packed with salt and fat. And, of course, your blood pressure and your tinnitus will be adversely affected by this kind of diet. Fast food restaurants also tend to serve shockingly huge beverages, and those drinks are mostly sugar. Yes you guessed it, sugar is next on this list.

Sugars and Sweets

We all enjoy candy. Well, the majority of us enjoy candy. Every once in a while, you’ll come across someone who sincerely prefers broccoli over candy. No judgment from us.

Sadly, sugar can really throw off the stability of glucose in your body. And as you’re trying to fall asleep at night, a little disruption to that balance can mean a lot of tossing and turning. In the silence of the night, as you lie there awake, it becomes much easier to begin to hear that ringing.


So, we saved caffeine for last because, well, it’s a tough one. This is the one we’re least pleased about having to give up. But using caffeine late in the day, whether from coffee, tea, or soda, can really ruin your sleep cycle. And the less quality sleep you get, the more likely your tinnitus is to flare up.

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

What Are Your Best Practices?

This is certainly not a comprehensive list. You’ll want to consult your hearing specialist about any dietary adjustments you might need to make. Let’s not forget that dietary adjustments impact everyone in a different way, so it could 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 smart decisions if you recognize how certain foods affect you. When you begin monitoring how your ears react to different foods, the reason for your tinnitus may become less mysterious.

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

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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