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Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

There is an inconsistency in tinnitus symptoms; they seem to appear and vanish, at times for no evident reason at all. Occasionally, it seems like, for no evident reason what so ever, your ears just begin to buzz. No matter how long you lie in bed and think about the reason why you’re hearing this buzzing, you can’t think of any triggers in your day: There is no apparent reason why, at 9 PM, ringing starts taking place, no loud music, no loud fire alarms, nothing.

So maybe it’s the food. We don’t normally think about the connection between food and hearing, but there’s a bit of research and evidence to suggest that some 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 dive right in, shall we? You want to identify what foods you should steer clear of so you can make sure you never have to go through one of those food-produced tinnitus attacks again. Certain foods to stay away from may include:

Alcoholic Drinks

Alcohol and tobacco should be at the top of the list of items to stay clear of. Okay, alright, “tobacco” isn’t necessarily food, but if you want to reduce tinnitus flare up’s (and the severity of those episodes), you’ll abstain from drinking and smoking as much as possible.

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


One of the top predictors of tinnitus episodes is your blood pressure. When your blood pressure goes up, your tinnitus worsens. That’s why when you set your list of foods to stay away from, sodium needs to be at the top. You’ll need to significantly decrease your sodium consumption whether you use salt on everything or you just love to eat french fries.

There are some foods that you don’t normally consider to be high in sodium including ice cream. But to prevent any sudden tinnitus episodes you will want to keep track of sodium content.

Fast Food

If you’re staying clear of sodium, it should come as no shock that you should also be avoiding fast food. Most fast-food places (even the ones that claim they are a healthier alternative) serve food that is jam-packed with salt and fat. And, of course, your blood pressure and your tinnitus will be negatively impacted by this type of diet. Fast food outlets also usually serve shockingly big beverages, and those beverages are very high in sugar. Which brings us to the next food to avoid.

Sugars and Sweets

Candy is something that all of us love. Well, maybe not everyone, but the majority of us. From time to time, you’ll run into someone who actually prefers veggies over chocolate. No judgment from us.

Sadly, sugar can completely throw off the balance of glucose in your body. And as you’re attempting to go to sleep at night, a little 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 ringing and buzzing.


So, we saved caffeine for last because, well, it’s a tough one. Giving this one up is a tough pill to swallow. But having caffeine late in the day, whether from soda, tea, or coffee, can really mess up your sleep cycle. And your tinnitus is more likely to flare up if you aren’t getting quality sleep.

So it’s not actually the caffeine itself that’s the problem, it’s the lack of sleep. Switch over to a beverage that doesn’t have caffeine at night and save your caffeine for the morning.

Learn What Works Best For You

This is absolutely not an exhaustive list. You’ll want to talk to your hearing expert about any dietary changes you may 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.

Recognizing what foods can trigger a tinnitus event can help you make smarter choices going forward. When you start to track 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.

Then you will know 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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