Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

There is an inconsistency in tinnitus symptoms; it seems to be difficult to identify when and why these sounds happen. Perhaps you’re climbing into bed one night and, seemingly without warning, your ears begin to ring badly. No matter how much you lie there and consider the reason why you hear this buzzing, you can’t come up with any triggers in your day: There is no discernible reason why, at 9 PM, ringing is happening, no noisy music, no loud fire alarms, nothing.

So possibly the food you ate may be the reason. Normally we don’t connect the idea of food with hearing, but there’s a bit of research and evidence to suggest that some foods can make tinnitus worse. In order to steer clear of those foods, it’s important to know what they are.

Some Foods Which Activate Tinnitus

Let’s just dive right in, shall we? You want to identify which foods you should avoid so you can make certain you never have to experience one of those food-generated tinnitus outbreaks again. Some foods to avoid could include:

Alcoholic Beverages

At the top of the list of things to steer clear of are alcohol and tobacco. You will definitely want to avoid drinking and smoking so that you can reduce your chance of a tinnitus episode despite the fact that tobacco isn’t actually a food.

Your general health can be significantly affected by alcohol and tobacco specifically your blood pressure. The more you drink (and smoke), the more likely a tinnitus flare up will be.


One of the most useful predictors of tinnitus episodes is your blood pressure. When your blood pressure goes up, your tinnitus worsens. That’s the reason sodium should absolutely be on your list of food foods to avoid. You’ll want to significantly reduce your sodium intake whether you use salt on everything or you just love eating french fries.

There are a few foods that you don’t normally consider to be high in sodium like ice cream. But to prevent any sudden tinnitus episodes you will want to keep track of sodium content.

Fast Food

It shouldn’t be surprising that you should stay away from fast food if you are avoiding sodium. Even fast food places that boast of being a more healthy alternative serve food that is really high in fat and sodium. And, of course, your blood pressure and your tinnitus will be adversely affected by this type of diet. Let’s not forget the massive drinks they serve that are extremely high in sugar. Yes you guessed it, sugar is next on the list.

Sugars and Sweets

Candy is something that all of us love. Well, maybe not everyone, but the majority of us. There is a very small portion of the populace that would actually prefer veggies. No judgment from us.

Unfortunately, the glucose balance in your body can be greatly disrupted by sugar. And a small disruption of your glucose balance can cause you to have a difficult time sleeping. In the quiet of the night, while you lie there awake, it becomes a lot easier to start to hear that ringing.


There’s an obvious reason why we saved this one for last. Giving this one up is a hard pill to swallow. But drinking caffeine late in the day, whether from coffee, tea, or soda, can really mess up your sleep cycle. And the less quality sleep you get, the more likely your tinnitus is to flare up.

So it’s not really the caffeine per se that’s the problem, it’s the lack of sleep. Change over to a drink that doesn’t have caffeine at night and save your caffeine for the morning.

Find out What Works Best For You

This list is certainly not exhaustive. You’ll want to talk to your hearing expert about any dietary modifications you might need to make. And it’s worth keeping in mind that everybody will be affected differently by dietary modifications, so in order to monitor what works and what doesn’t, it may be a smart idea to keep a food journal.

Knowing what foods can lead to a tinnitus episode can help you make smarter decisions moving ahead. When you start tracking how your ears respond to different foods, the reason for your tinnitus could become less mysterious.

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

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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