Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

There is an inconsistency in symptoms of tinnitus; it seems to be difficult to identify why and when these sounds happen. Maybe you’re getting into bed one night and, seemingly without warning, your ears start ringing something fierce. As you lie in bed, you think back over your day, and there are no clear reasons for this episode: no loud music, no shrieking fire alarms, nothing that could explain why your tinnitus chose 9 PM to mount a flare-up.

So perhaps the food you ate might be the reason. We don’t typically think about the connection between hearing and food, but there’s a bit of research and evidence to suggest that tinnitus can be made worse by some foods. In order to steer clear of those foods, you need to identify what they are.

What Foods Worsen Tinnitus?

Let’s just cut right to the chase, shall we? You want to know which kind of foods you should avoid so you can make sure you never have to experience one of those food-produced tinnitus attacks again. Certain foods to stay away from may include:

Alcoholic Beverages

At the top of the list of items to steer clear of are alcohol and tobacco. You will certainly want to abstain from smoking and drinking in order to decrease your risk of a tinnitus flare up’s despite the fact that tobacco isn’t really a food.

Both alcohol and tobacco products can have a substantial effect on your blood pressure (not to mention your overall health). Your tinnitus is progressively more likely to flare up the more you smoke and drink


Your blood pressure is one of the most significant predictors of tinnitus flare ups. Your tinnitus gets worse when your blood pressure increases. That’s why sodium should certainly be on your list of food foods to stay away from. You’ll need to significantly decrease your sodium consumption whether you use salt on everything or you just love eating french fries.

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

Fast Food

It shouldn’t be shocking that you should avoid fast food if you are avoiding sodium. Most fast-food restaurants (even the ones that bill themselves as 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, therefore, your tinnitus. Fast food restaurants also usually serve astonishingly large drinks, and those beverages are very high in sugar. Which brings up the next food to avoid.

Sweets And Sugars

Candy is something that we all love. Well, the majority of us enjoy candy. Every once in a while, you’ll run into someone who genuinely prefers broccoli over candy. We try not to pass judgment.

Sadly, sugar can completely throw off the equilibrium of glucose in your body. And as you’re attempting to go to sleep at night, a small disruption to that balance can mean a lot of tossing and turning. In the quiet of the night, while you lie there awake, it becomes much easier to begin to hear that ringing.


So, we saved this one for last because, well, it’s a tough one. Quitting this one is a tough pill to swallow. But your sleep cycle can be significantly affected if you have any kind of caffeine late in the day. And your tinnitus is more likely to flare up 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 in the evenings and save your caffeine for the morning.

Learn What Works Best For You

This is absolutely not a comprehensive list. You’ll want to talk to your hearing specialist about any dietary adjustments you might need to make. Let’s not forget that dietary changes affect everyone in a unique way, so it might even be worth keeping a food journal where you can track what impacts you and by how much.

Going forward you will have an easier time making wise choices if you recognize how some foods affect you. When you start tracking how your ears respond to different foods, the explanation for your tinnitus could become less incomprehensible.

If you decide on that last cup of coffee, at least you know what you’re dealing with.


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