Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

Tinnitus symptoms are hardly ever continuous; it seems difficult to identify when and why these sounds occur. Perhaps you’re climbing into bed one night and, evidently out of nowhere, your ears start ringing badly. No matter how much you lie in bed and think about the reason why you hear this buzzing, you can’t think of any triggers in your day: no loud music, no screeching fire alarms, nothing that would explain why your tinnitus chose 9 PM to flare up.

So maybe it’s the something you ate. We don’t typically think about the connection between food and hearing, but there’s a bit of research and evidence to suggest that tinnitus can be made worse by particular foods. In order to stay away from those foods, it’s important to find out what they are.

Which Foods Make Tinnitus Worse?

Let’s just dive right in, shall we? You won’t want to experience a food related tinnitus event so you need to find out which foods can cause it. Certain foods to stay away from may include:

Alcoholic Beverages

Alcohol and tobacco should be at the top of the list of things to stay away from. You will certainly want to abstain from drinking and smoking so that you can reduce your risk of a tinnitus flare up’s despite the fact that tobacco isn’t actually a food.

Both tobacco and alcohol 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 smoke and drink


Your blood pressure is one of the most significant predictors of tinnitus episodes. When your blood pressure goes up, your tinnitus gets worse. That’s why sodium should absolutely be on your list of food foods to stay away from. Whether you enjoy french fries or just put salt on everything, you’ll want to ease up a lot.

There are some foods that are remarkably high in sodium, too, including ice cream (which you don’t typically think of as tasting particularly salty). You’ll need to keep close track of sodium levels in anything you eat to avoid 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. Most fast-food joints (even the ones that claim they are a healthier alternative) serve food that is loaded with salt and fat. And, again, that’s going to have a big consequence on your blood pressure and, hence, your tinnitus. Let’s not forget the massive drinks they serve which are very high in sugar. Which brings up the next food to avoid.

Sweets And Sugars

We all enjoy candy. Well, the majority of us love candy. Every once in a while, you’ll run into someone who actually prefers veggies over candy. No judgment here.

However, the glucose balance in your body can be greatly disrupted by sugar. And as you’re attempting to get to sleep at night, a small disruption to that balance can mean lots of tossing and turning. In the silence of the night, as 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. Giving this one up is a tough pill to swallow. But your sleep cycle can be substantially impacted if you have any kind of caffeine later in the day. And the worse your quality of sleep, the more your tinnitus is likely to flare up.

So it’s not really the caffeine by itself that’s the issue, it’s the lack of sleep. Drink your coffee or tea in the morning, and switch to a non-caffeinated drink before dinner.

Find out What Works Best For You

This is absolutely not an exhaustive list. You’ll want to consult your hearing expert about any dietary adjustments you may need to make. Let’s not forget that dietary modifications affect everyone differently, so in order to keep track of what works and what doesn’t, it may be a smart idea to keep a food journal.

Going forward you will have an easier time making smart decisions if you understand how particular foods affect you. When you begin tracking how your ears respond to different foods, the reason for your tinnitus might become less incomprehensible.

If you decide on that last cup of coffee, at least you know what you’re in for.


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