Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

There is an inconsistency in tinnitus symptoms; it seems difficult to identify why and when these sounds occur. At times, it seems like, for no recognizable reason what so ever, your ears just begin to buzz. As you lie in bed, you consider your day, and there aren’t any clear causes for this event: There is no noticeable reason why, at 9 PM, ringing is taking place, no noisy music, no loud fire alarms, nothing.

So maybe it’s the something you ate. Generally we don’t associate the idea of food with hearing, but there’s a bit of research and evidence to suggest that tinnitus can be made worse by some foods. The trick for you is understanding what those foods are, so you can avoid them.

What Foods Worsen Tinnitus?

So let’s get right to it. You want to identify what foods you should steer clear of so you can make certain you never have to experience one of those food-generated tinnitus outbreaks again. Certain foods to avoid may include:

Alcoholic Drinks

At the top of the list of items to avoid are tobacco and alcohol. You will certainly want to abstain from smoking and drinking in order to decrease your chance of a tinnitus episode despite the fact that tobacco isn’t actually a food.

Both alcohol and tobacco products can have a significant impact on your blood pressure (to say nothing of your general health). Your tinnitus is progressively more likely to flare up the more you smoke and drink


Your blood pressure is one of the biggest predictors of tinnitus episodes. Your tinnitus gets worse when your blood pressure increases. That’s the reason why when you make your list of foods to avoid, sodium should be at the top. Whether you enjoy french fries or just put salt on everything, you’ll want to cut way, way back.

There are certain foods that are surprisingly high in sodium, also, like ice cream (which you don’t usually think of as tasting especially salty). But to avoid any sudden tinnitus episodes you will want to keep your eye on sodium content.

Fast Food

If you’re keeping away from sodium, it should come as no shock that you should also be avoiding fast food. Most fast-food places (even the ones that claim they are a healthier choice) serve food that is packed with salt and fat. And, again, that’s going to have a big consequence on your blood pressure and, therefore, your tinnitus. Fast food restaurants also normally serve astonishingly large beverages, and those beverages are very high in sugar. Which brings up the next food to avoid.

Sugars and Sweets

Candy is something that we all enjoy. Well, the majority of us love candy. There is a very small percentage of the population that would actually prefer vegetables. No judgment from us.

Regrettably, sugar can really throw off the balance of glucose in your body. And a small disturbance of your glucose stability can cause you to have a difficult time sleeping. In the silence of the night, while you lie there awake, it becomes a lot easier to start to hear that ringing.


There is an obvious reason why we kept this one for last. Quitting this one is a hard pill to swallow. But your sleep cycle can be substantially affected if you drink any kind of caffeine late in the day. And the less quality sleep you get, the more your tinnitus is likely to flare up.

It’s actually the lack of sleep, not the caffeine that’s the issue. Drink your coffee or tea in the morning, and change to a non-caffeinated beverage before dinner.

Find out What Works Best For You

This is absolutely not an exhaustive list. You’ll want to talk to your hearing specialist about any dietary adjustments you may need to make. And it’s worth remembering that everybody will be affected differently by dietary changes, so it could even be worth maintaining a food journal where you can keep track of what impacts you and by how much.

Knowing what foods can cause a tinnitus flare up can help you make better decisions moving ahead. When you start keeping track of how your ears react to different foods, the cause of your tinnitus may become less incomprehensible.

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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