The Connection Between Tinnitus And Food

Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

There is an inconsistency in tinnitus symptoms; they seem to appear and disappear, at times for no discernible reason at all. Occasionally, it seems like, for no recognizable reason what so ever, your ears just begin buzzing. No matter how much you lie there and think about the reason why you’re hearing this buzzing, you can’t identify any triggers during your day: There is no tangible reason why, at 9 PM, ringing is taking place, no loud music, no loud fire alarms, nothing.

So possibly the food you ate might be the answer. We don’t normally think about the link between hearing and food, but there’s a bit of research and evidence to suggest that some foods can make tinnitus worse. The trick for you is knowing what those foods are, so you can steer clear of them.

Some Foods That Trigger Tinnitus

So let’s get right down to it. You want to recognize what foods you should stay away from so you can be sure you never have to experience one of those food-produced tinnitus episodes again. Here are some foods to stay away from:

Alcoholic Drinks

Alcohol and tobacco should be high on the list of things to stay away from. Okay, alright, “tobacco” isn’t necessarily 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 tobacco and alcohol products can have a significant impact on your blood pressure (not to mention your general health). The more you drink (and smoke), the more likely a tinnitus flare up will be.


One of the most useful predictors of tinnitus flare-ups is your blood pressure. When your blood pressure goes up, your tinnitus gets worse. That’s why sodium should certainly be on your list of food foods to stay away from. You’ll want to substantially decrease your sodium consumption whether you put salt on everything or you just love eating french fries.

There are certain foods that are shockingly high in sodium, too, such as ice cream (which you don’t commonly think of as tasting very salty). But to avoid any sudden tinnitus episodes you will need to keep your eye on sodium content.

Fast Food

It shouldn’t be surprising that you should stay away from fast food if you are avoiding sodium. The majority of fast-food joints (even the ones that claim they are a healthier choice) serve food that is loaded with salt and fat. And, of course, your blood pressure and your tinnitus will be negatively impacted by this type of diet. Let’s not forget the enormous drinks they serve that are extremely high in sugar. Yes you guessed it, sugar is next on this list.

Sugars and Sweets

We all love candy. Well, maybe not everybody, but most of us. Every once in a while, you’ll run into someone who actually prefers veggies over candy. No judgment from us.

Sadly, sugar can really throw off the balance of glucose in your body. And as you’re attempting to fall asleep at night, a little disruption to that balance can mean lots of tossing and turning. In the silence of the night, as you lie there awake, it becomes much easier to start to hear that ringing.


There is an apparent reason why we saved this one for last. This is the one we’re least positive about needing to give up. But having caffeine late in the day, whether from coffee, tea, or soda, can really mess up 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 problem. Switch over to a beverage that doesn’t have caffeine in the evenings and save your caffeine for the morning.

What Are Your Smartest Practices?

This is certainly not an exhaustive list. Your hearing professional is the ideal place to begin regarding the dietary adjustments you need to make. Let’s not forget that dietary modifications affect everyone in a different way, so it could even be worth keeping a food journal where you can track what affects you and by how much.

Recognizing which foods can cause a tinnitus flare up can help you make smarter decisions going forward. When you begin keeping track of how your ears respond to different foods, the reason for your tinnitus may become less mysterious.

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

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