The Connection Between Tinnitus And Food

Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

Tinnitus symptoms are rarely constant; they seem to come and go, often for no apparent reason at all. Occasionally, it seems as if, for no recognizable reason what so ever, your ears just start buzzing. No matter how long you lie in bed and contemplate the reason why you hear this buzzing, you can’t come up with any triggers in your day: no loud music, no screeching fire alarms, nothing that might explain why your tinnitus chose 9 PM to flare up.

So possibly the food you ate could be the answer. Normally 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 certain foods. The secret for you is identifying what those foods are, so you can steer clear of them.

What Foods Make Tinnitus Worse?

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

Alcoholic Beverages

At the top of the list of items to stay away from are alcohol and tobacco. You will definitely want to avoid drinking and smoking in order to decrease your risk of a tinnitus flare up’s even though tobacco isn’t really a food.

Both tobacco and alcohol products can have an enormous impact on your blood pressure (to say nothing of your total health). Your tinnitus is progressively more likely to flare up the more you drink and smoke.


Your blood pressure is one of the biggest predictors of tinnitus episodes. Your tinnitus gets worse when your blood pressure rises. That’s why when you create your list of foods to avoid, sodium needs to be at the top. Whether you love eating french fries or just put salt on everything, you’ll want to cut way, way back.

There are some foods that are shockingly high in sodium, also, including ice cream (which you don’t typically think of as tasting very salty). You’ll want to watch out for sodium levels in anything you eat to prevent a surprise tinnitus episode.

Fast Food

It shouldn’t be surprising that you should avoid fast food if you are avoiding sodium. Even fast food places that say they are a more healthy alternative serve food that is extremely high in sodium and fat. And, clearly, your blood pressure and your tinnitus will be adversely affected by this kind of diet. Fast food restaurants also usually serve shockingly large beverages, and those beverages are very high in sugar. Yes you guessed it, sugar is next on the list.

Sugars and Sweets

We all enjoy candy. Well, most of us enjoy candy. Every once in a while, you’ll come across someone who genuinely prefers veggies over chocolate. We try not to pass judgment.

Sad to say, the glucose balance in your body can be seriously disrupted by sugar. And as you’re trying to go to sleep at night, a little disturbance to that balance can mean a lot of tossing and turning. In the silence of the night, as you lie there awake, it becomes a lot easier to start to hear that ringing.


So, we saved this one for last because, well, it’s a tough one. This is the one we’re least happy about having to give up. But using caffeine late in the day, whether from coffee, tea, or soda, can really wreck your sleep cycle. And the worse your quality of sleep, the more your tinnitus is likely to flare up.

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

What Are Your Smartest Practices?

This is definitely not an exhaustive list. Your hearing specialist is the best place to begin when it comes to the dietary adjustments you need to undertake. Let’s not forget that dietary changes affect everyone in a unique way, so it could even be worth maintaining a food journal where you can keep track of what affects you and by how much.

Recognizing what foods can lead to a tinnitus episode can help you make wiser choices moving ahead. When you begin keeping track of how your ears respond to different foods, the reason for your tinnitus may become less incomprehensible.

Then you will know if you are going to be sorry for that late cup of coffee.

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