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Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

There is an inconsistency in symptoms of tinnitus; it seems difficult to identify why and when these sounds occur. Sometimes, it seems like, for no apparent reason what so ever, your ears just begin buzzing. As you lie in bed, you consider your day, and there aren’t any clear causes for this episode: There is no discernible reason why, at 9 PM, ringing starts happening, no noisy music, no loud fire alarms, nothing.

So maybe it’s the food. Typically we don’t connect the idea of food with 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, it’s important to recognize what they are.

Some Foods Which Activate Tinnitus

So let’s get right down to it. You won’t want to experience a food related tinnitus episode so it’s important to know which foods can cause it. Certain foods to avoid could include:

Alcoholic Drinks

High on the list of items to steer clear of are alcohol and tobacco. Okay, okay, “tobacco” isn’t actually food, but if you want to decrease tinnitus flare up’s (and the severity of those episodes), you’ll steer clear of smoking and drinking as much as you can.

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


One of the most useful predictors of tinnitus flare-ups is your blood pressure. Your tinnitus gets worse when your blood pressure increases. That’s the reason why when you set your list of foods to avoid, sodium needs to be at the top. Whether you love french fries or just put salt on everything, you’ll want to ease up a lot.

There are a few foods that you don’t normally consider high in sodium like ice cream. You’ll want to keep an eye on sodium levels in anything you eat to prevent a surprise tinnitus event.

Fast Food

If you’re steering clear of sodium, it should come as no shock that you should also be avoiding fast food. The majority of fast-food joints (even the ones that bill themselves as a healthier choice) serve food that is jam-packed with salt and fat. And, again, that’s going to have a huge impact on your blood pressure and, therefore, your tinnitus. Fast food restaurants also usually serve astonishingly big beverages, and those drinks are very high in sugar. Yes you guessed it, sugar is next on the list.

Sweets And Sugars

Candy is something that we all love. Well, the majority of us enjoy candy. There is a very small percentage of the public that would actually prefer veggies. No judgment from us.

Unfortunately, sugar can really 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 a lot of tossing and turning. In the quiet of the night, while you lie there awake, it becomes a lot easier to begin to hear that ringing.


So, we saved this one for last because, well, it’s a tough one. Quitting this one is a hard 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 appear if you aren’t getting quality sleep.

It’s actually the lack of sleep, not the caffeine that’s the issue. Switch over to a drink that doesn’t have caffeine in the evenings and save your caffeine for the morning.

Discover What Works Best For You

This is absolutely not an exhaustive list. You’ll want to talk to your hearing specialist about any dietary modifications you might need to make. Let’s remember that dietary changes impact everyone in a unique way, so in order to keep track of what is working and what isn’t, it may be a good idea to keep a food journal.

Recognizing what foods can cause a tinnitus event can help you make smarter decisions going ahead. When you start monitoring how your ears react to different foods, the reason for your tinnitus could 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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