The Association Between Tinnitus And Food

Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

Tinnitus symptoms are not usually constant; they seem to appear and disappear, at times for no evident reason at all. At times, it seems like, for no evident reason at all, your ears just begin to buzz. No matter how long you lie in bed and consider 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 would explain why your tinnitus chose 9 PM to flare up.

So perhaps the food you ate might be the reason. Typically 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. In order to stay away from those foods, you need to find out what they are.

Which Foods Make Tinnitus Worse?

So let’s get right to it. You want to find out what foods you should steer clear of so you can be sure you never have to go through one of those food-produced tinnitus outbreaks again. Here are some foods to stay away from:


Alcohol and tobacco should be high on the list of things to stay clear of. Alright, alright, “tobacco” isn’t necessarily food, but if you want to decrease tinnitus episodes (and the intensity of those episodes), you’ll steer clear of smoking and drinking as much as you can.

Both tobacco and alcohol products can have an enormous effect 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.


One of the top predictors of tinnitus flare-ups is your blood pressure. Your tinnitus worsens when your blood pressure goes up. That’s the reason sodium should absolutely be on your list of food substances to stay away from. You’ll need to substantially reduce your sodium consumption whether you put salt on everything or you just love eating french fries.

There are some foods that you don’t normally consider high in sodium such as ice cream. You’ll need to keep close track of sodium levels in anything you eat to prevent a surprise tinnitus event.

Fast Food

If you’re staying clear of sodium, it should come as no shock that you should also be avoiding fast food. Even fast food places that claim to be a more healthy alternative serve food that is extremely high in fat and sodium. And, clearly, your blood pressure and your tinnitus will be adversely impacted by this kind of diet. Fast food restaurants also tend to serve shockingly huge beverages, and those drinks are very high in sugar. Which brings us to the next food to avoid.

Sweets And Sugars

We all love candy. Well, most of us love candy. There is a very small percentage of the population that would actually prefer vegetables. No judgment here.

Regrettably, the glucose balance in your body can be significantly disrupted by sugar. And a small disturbance of your glucose stability can cause you to have a difficult time sleeping. And the more you toss and turn, the more you begin to listen for that buzzing and ringing.


So, we saved caffeine for last because, well, we get it. This is the one we’re least happy about having to give up. But your sleep cycle can be dramatically impacted if you have any caffeine later in the day. And your tinnitus is more likely to appear if you aren’t getting quality sleep.

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 absolutely not a comprehensive list. You’ll want to talk to your hearing professional about any dietary modifications you may need to make. And it’s worth remembering that everyone will be affected in their own way by dietary adjustments, so in order to keep track of what works and what doesn’t, it may be a good idea to keep a food journal.

Recognizing which foods can trigger a tinnitus flare up can help you make more intelligent choices going ahead. When you begin tracking what you eat, and what happens to your ears subsequently, you may start to detect patterns, and that can take some of the mystery out of your tinnitus symptoms.

Then you will know 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.