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Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

There is an inconsistency in tinnitus symptoms; it seems difficult to identify why and when these sounds occur. Maybe you’re climbing into bed one night and, apparently out of the blue, your ears begin to ring something fierce. As you lie in bed, you think back over your day, and there are no clear triggers for this event: There is no tangible reason why, at 9 PM, ringing starts happening, no noisy music, no loud fire alarms, nothing.

So perhaps the food you ate may be the reason. Usually 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. In order to steer clear of those foods, you need to know what they are.

Which Foods Worsen Tinnitus?

Let’s just dive right in, shall we? You won’t want to experience a food related tinnitus event so it’s important to recognize which foods can trigger it. Here are some foods to stay away from:

Alcoholic Drinks

Alcohol and tobacco should be at the top of the list of things to avoid. Okay, alright, “tobacco” isn’t actually food, but if you want to minimize tinnitus attacks (and the intensity of those episodes), you’ll avoid drinking and smoking as much as you can.

Both alcohol and tobacco products can have an enormous effect on your blood pressure (not to mention your total health). 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. Your tinnitus worsens when your blood pressure rises. That’s why sodium should definitely be on your list of food substances to avoid. You’ll need to substantially reduce your sodium consumption whether you use salt on everything or you just love eating french fries.

There are certain foods that are shockingly high in sodium, also, such as ice cream (which you don’t usually think of as tasting very salty). But to avoid any sudden tinnitus episodes you will want to keep track of sodium content.

Fast Food

If you’re keeping away from sodium, it should come as no surprise that you should also be avoiding fast food. Even fast food places that say they are a more healthy option serve food that is extremely high in fat and sodium. And, of course, your blood pressure and your tinnitus will be negatively impacted by this kind of diet. Fast food outlets also normally serve astonishingly huge drinks, and those beverages are very high in sugar. Yes you guessed it, sugar is next on the list.

Sugars and Sweets

Candy is something that we all enjoy. Well, most of us enjoy candy. Every now and then, you’ll come across someone who sincerely prefers veggies over chocolate. We try not to pass judgment.

Sadly, sugar can really throw off the stability of glucose in your body. And as you’re attempting to fall asleep at night, a small disturbance to that balance can mean lots of tossing and turning. And the more you toss and turn, the more you begin to listen for that buzzing and ringing.


There’s an obvious reason why we kept this one for last. This is the one we’re least happy about having to give up. But using caffeine late in the day, whether from soda, tea, or coffee, can really wreck your sleep cycle. And the worse your quality of sleep, the more likely your tinnitus is to flare up.

It’s really the lack of sleep, not the caffeine that’s the issue. Switch over to a beverage that doesn’t have caffeine at night and save your caffeine for the morning.

What Are Your Smartest Practices?

This is absolutely not an exhaustive list. You’ll want to consult your hearing expert about any dietary adjustments you may need to make. And it’s worth bearing in mind that everyone will be affected in their own way by dietary modifications, so it may even be worth keeping a food journal where you can keep track of what affects you and by how much.

Understanding which foods can cause a tinnitus event can help you make better decisions moving ahead. When you begin tracking what you eat, and what happens to your ears afterward, you might start to notice patterns, and that can take some of the mystery out of your tinnitus symptoms.

Then you will appreciate 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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