Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

There is an inconsistency in tinnitus symptoms; they seem to appear and disappear, sometimes for no evident reason at all. At times, it seems like, for no recognizable reason at all, your ears just begin to buzz. As you lie in bed, you consider your day, and there aren’t any clear reasons for this episode: no loud music, no shrieking fire alarms, nothing that might explain why your tinnitus chose 9 PM to flare up.

So perhaps the food you ate could be the reason. We don’t typically think about the connection between hearing and food, but there’s a bit of research and evidence to suggest that some foods can make tinnitus worse. The secret for you is understanding what those foods are, so you can stay away from them.

What Foods Worsen Tinnitus?

So let’s get right down to it. You would like to find out which foods you should steer clear of so you can be sure you never have to experience one of those food-produced tinnitus episodes again. Certain foods to avoid may include:

Alcoholic Beverages

At the top of the list of items to steer clear of are alcohol and tobacco. You will definitely want to abstain from drinking and smoking in order to decrease your chance of a tinnitus flare up’s despite the fact that tobacco isn’t really a food.

Both alcohol and tobacco products can have a significant effect on your blood pressure (not to mention your general 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 episodes. Your tinnitus gets worse when your blood pressure goes up. That’s why sodium should certainly be on your list of food foods to avoid. Whether you love french fries or just put salt on everything, you’ll want to cut way, way back.

There are some foods that you don’t usually consider high in sodium such as ice cream. You’ll want to keep close track of sodium levels in everything you eat to prevent a surprise tinnitus event.

Fast Food

If you’re avoiding 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 claim they are a healthier choice) serve food that is packed with salt and fat. And, clearly, your blood pressure and your tinnitus will be adversely impacted by this type of diet. Let’s not forget the massive drinks they serve that are very high in sugar. Which brings up the next food to avoid.

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 public that would actually prefer veggies. We try not to judge.

Sadly, sugar can really throw off the stability of glucose in your body. And as you’re trying to go to sleep at night, a little disturbance to that balance can mean a lot of tossing and turning. And the more you toss and turn, the more you start listening for that ringing and buzzing.


There’s an apparent reason why we kept this one for last. This is the one we’re least positive about needing to give up. But your sleep cycle can be substantially affected if you drink any caffeine later 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. Switch over to a drink that doesn’t have caffeine at night and save your caffeine for the morning.

What Are Your Best Practices?

This is certainly not a comprehensive list. Your hearing expert is the best place to begin concerning the dietary modifications you need to undertake. Let’s not forget that dietary modifications affect everyone in a different way, so it may even be worth keeping a food journal where you can keep track of what affects you and by how much.

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

Then you will recognize if you are going to be sorry for 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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