Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

Tinnitus symptoms are rarely constant; they seem to come and go, often for no discernible reason at all. At times, it seems like, for no apparent reason what so ever, your ears just start to buzz. No matter how long you lie in bed and consider the reason why you’re hearing this buzzing, you can’t identify any triggers in your day: no loud music, no shrieking fire alarms, nothing that could explain why your tinnitus chose 9 PM to mount a flare-up.

So maybe it’s the food. We don’t normally think about the connection 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 stay away from them.

What Foods Make Tinnitus Worse?

Let’s just dive right in, shall we? You want to find out which kind of foods you should steer clear of so you can be sure you never have to experience one of those food-produced tinnitus outbreaks again. Here are some foods to avoid:

Alcoholic Beverages

High on the list of items to steer clear of are tobacco and alcohol. Alright, alright, “tobacco” isn’t necessarily food, but if you want to minimize tinnitus episodes (and the intensity of those episodes), you’ll avoid drinking and smoking as much as you can.

Both alcohol and tobacco products can have an enormous impact on your blood pressure (to say nothing of your general health). The more you indulge, the more likely your tinnitus will be to flare up.


Your blood pressure is one of the leading predictors of tinnitus episodes. When your blood pressure rises, your tinnitus gets worse. That’s why when you make your list of foods to avoid, sodium should be at the top. You’ll need to significantly reduce your sodium consumption whether you put salt on everything or you just love to eat french fries.

There are some foods that you don’t usually consider high in sodium including ice cream. But to avoid any sudden tinnitus episodes you will want 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. Most fast-food joints (even the ones that claim they are a healthier alternative) serve food that is loaded with salt and fat. And, clearly, your blood pressure and your tinnitus will be adversely impacted by this kind of diet. Fast food outlets also normally serve shockingly big beverages, and those drinks are very high in sugar. Which brings up the next food you should avoid.

Sugars and Sweets

We all love candy. Well, the majority of us love candy. Every now and then, you’ll come across someone who genuinely prefers veggies over candy. No judgment from us.

Unfortunately, sugar can completely throw off the stability of glucose in your body. And as you’re trying to get to sleep at night, a little disruption 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 buzzing and ringing.


There is an apparent reason why we kept this one for last. Giving this one up is a hard pill to swallow. But using 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 don’t get quality sleep.

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 Best Practices?

This is definitely not a comprehensive list. You’ll want to speak with your hearing professional about any dietary adjustments you may need to make. Let’s not forget that dietary modifications affect everyone differently, so in order to monitor what works and what doesn’t, it might be a good idea to keep a food journal.

Moving forward you will have an easier time making wise decisions if you understand how some foods affect you. When you begin tracking how your ears respond to different foods, the cause of your tinnitus may become less mysterious.

Then you will recognize if you are going to be sorry for 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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