The Link Between Tinnitus And Food

Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

There is an inconsistency in tinnitus symptoms; it seems to be difficult to know when and why these sounds occur. Sometimes, it seems as if, for no apparent reason what so ever, your ears just begin to buzz. As you lie in bed, you consider your day, and there are no clear reasons for this event: no loud music, no screeching fire alarms, nothing that could explain why your tinnitus chose 9 PM to flare up.

So maybe it’s the food. Normally we don’t associate the idea of food with hearing, but there’s a bit of research and evidence to suggest that certain foods can make tinnitus worse. The trick for you is identifying what those foods are, so you can steer clear of them.

Some Foods That Activate Tinnitus

Let’s just dive right in, shall we? You don’t want to experience a food triggered tinnitus event so you need to recognize which foods can cause it. Here are some foods to stay away from:

Alcoholic Beverages

Alcohol and tobacco should be at the top of the list of items to avoid. You will absolutely want to abstain from drinking and smoking so that you can lessen your chance of a tinnitus flare up’s despite the fact that tobacco isn’t actually a food.

Your overall health can be substantially affected by alcohol and tobacco especially your blood pressure. Your tinnitus is progressively more likely to flare up the more you drink and smoke.


One of the best predictors of tinnitus episodes is your blood pressure. When your blood pressure goes up, your tinnitus worsens. That’s the reason why when you set your list of foods to stay away from, sodium should be at the top. You’ll need to significantly reduce your sodium consumption whether you use salt on everything or you just love to eat french fries.

There are certain foods that you don’t normally consider to be high in sodium like ice cream. But to avoid any sudden tinnitus episodes you will want to keep your eye on sodium content.

Fast Food

If you’re steering clear of sodium, it should come as no surprise that you should also be avoiding fast food. Most fast-food joints (even the ones that claim they are a healthier choice) serve food that is loaded with salt and fat. And, again, that’s going to have a huge impact on your blood pressure and, hence, your tinnitus. Fast food restaurants also tend to serve astonishingly large beverages, and those drinks are very 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 the majority of us. There is a very small percentage of the public that would actually prefer vegetables. We try not to pass judgment.

Regrettably, 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 disturbance to that balance can mean lots of tossing and turning. And the more you toss and turn, the more you start listening for that ringing and buzzing.


There is an apparent reason why we saved this one for last. This is the one we’re least pleased about having to give up. But drinking caffeine late in the day, whether from coffee, tea, or soda, can really ruin your sleep cycle. And the worse your quality of sleep, the more likely your tinnitus is to flare up.

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

Discover What Works Best For You

This is absolutely not an exhaustive list. You’ll want to consult your hearing professional about any dietary adjustments you may need to make. And it’s worth bearing in mind that everyone will be affected in their own way by dietary modifications, so in order to monitor what works and what doesn’t, it may be a good idea to keep a food journal.

Recognizing what foods can lead to a tinnitus flare up can help you make more intelligent choices moving forward. When you start to track what you eat, and what happens to your ears subsequently, you may start to note patterns, and that can remove some of the mystery out of your tinnitus symptoms.

Then you will recognize 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.