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Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

Tinnitus symptoms are rarely continuous; it appears difficult to understand when and why these sounds happen. Perhaps you’re climbing into bed one night and, apparently without warning, your ears start ringing badly. No matter how long you lie there and consider the reason why you hear this buzzing, you can’t identify any triggers during your day: no noisy music, no screeching fire alarms, nothing that could explain why your tinnitus chose 9 PM to flare up.

So perhaps the food you ate could be the reason. Usually we don’t connect the idea of food with hearing, but there’s a bit of research and evidence to suggest that tinnitus can be made worse by some foods. In order to stay away from those foods, you need to know what they are.

Some Foods Which Trigger Tinnitus

Let’s just cut right to the chase, shall we? You won’t want to experience a food triggered tinnitus event so you need to identify what foods can cause it. Here are some foods to avoid:


Alcohol and tobacco should be at the top of the list of items to avoid. You will certainly want to abstain from drinking and smoking in order to lessen your chance of a tinnitus episode even though tobacco isn’t really a food.

Both tobacco and alcohol products can have a significant impact on your blood pressure (not to mention your general health). The more you indulge, the more likely your tinnitus will be to flare up.


One of the most useful predictors of tinnitus flare-ups is your blood pressure. Your tinnitus worsens when your blood pressure rises. That’s the reason sodium should definitely be on your list of food substances to avoid. 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 typically consider high in sodium including ice cream. You’ll want to keep an eye on sodium levels in anything you eat to avoid a surprise tinnitus event.

Fast Food

If you’re staying away from sodium, it should come as no surprise that you should also be avoiding fast food. Most fast-food restaurants (even the ones that claim they are a healthier option) serve food that is 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 massive drinks they serve that are very high in sugar. Yes you guessed it, sugar is next on the list.

Sweets And Sugars

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 veggies. No judgment from us.

Regrettably, sugar can really throw off the stability of glucose in your body. And a little disruption of your glucose stability can cause you to have a hard time trying to sleep. In the silence of the night, while you lie there awake, it becomes a lot easier to start to hear that ringing.


So, we saved caffeine for last because, well, it’s a tough one. Quitting this one is a hard pill to swallow. But your sleep cycle can be dramatically impacted if you have any kind of 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 switch to a non-caffeinated beverage before dinner.

Find out What Works Best For You

This list is by no means exhaustive. You’ll want to consult your hearing specialist about any dietary changes you might need to make. Let’s not forget that dietary changes affect everyone differently, so it may even be worth keeping a food journal where you can keep track of what affects you and by how much.

Recognizing which foods can lead to a tinnitus episode can help you make smarter choices moving ahead. When you start tracking what you eat, and what happens to your ears subsequently, you might start to detect patterns, and that can remove some of the mystery out of your tinnitus symptoms.

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

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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