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Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

Tinnitus symptoms are hardly ever continuous; it seems to be difficult to identify why and when these sounds occur. Maybe you’re getting into bed one night and, apparently out of the blue, your ears start ringing badly. No matter how long you lie there and think about the reason why you hear this buzzing, you can’t think of any triggers during your day: There is no discernible reason why, at 9 PM, ringing starts taking place, no loud music, no loud fire alarms, nothing.

So perhaps the food you ate might be the reason. Ordinarily we don’t link the idea of food with hearing, but there’s a bit of research and evidence to suggest that certain foods can make tinnitus worse. In order to stay away from those foods, you need to recognize what they are.

Some Foods Which Activate Tinnitus

So let’s get right to it. You would like to know which kind of foods you should stay away from so you can be sure you never have to go through one of those food-produced tinnitus episodes again. Here are some foods to avoid:

Alcoholic Beverages

Alcohol and tobacco should be at the top of the list of items to stay away from. Okay, okay, “tobacco” isn’t necessarily food, but if you want to reduce tinnitus flare up’s (and the intensity of those episodes), you’ll avoid drinking and smoking as much as possible.

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


Your blood pressure is one of the leading predictors of tinnitus episodes. When your blood pressure rises, your tinnitus gets worse. That’s why when you create your list of foods to stay away from, sodium needs to be at the top. Whether you love eating french fries or just put salt on everything, you’ll want to cut way, way back.

There are many foods that are surprisingly high in sodium, too, including ice cream (which you don’t commonly think of as tasting very salty). You’ll need to keep an eye on sodium levels in anything you eat to prevent a surprise tinnitus episode.

Fast Food

If you’re steering clear of sodium, it should come as no shock that you should also be avoiding fast food. Even fast food places that say they are a more healthy option serve food that is really high in fat and sodium. And, again, that’s going to have a substantial consequence on your blood pressure and, hence, your tinnitus. Let’s not forget the massive drinks they serve that are extremely high in sugar. Which brings up the next food you should avoid.

Sugars and Sweets

Candy is something that we all love. Well, maybe not everybody, but most of us. There is a very small percentage of the populace that would actually prefer veggies. We try not to judge.

Unfortunately, sugar can completely throw off the equilibrium of glucose in your body. And as you’re attempting to fall asleep 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 begin to listen for that ringing and buzzing.


There is an apparent reason why we saved this one for last. Quitting this one is a hard pill to swallow. But having caffeine late in the day, whether from coffee, tea, or soda, can really mess up your sleep cycle. And your tinnitus is more likely to flare up if you aren’t getting quality sleep.

So it’s not actually the caffeine per se that’s the issue, it’s the lack of sleep. Switch over to a beverage that doesn’t have caffeine at night and save your caffeine for the morning.

What Are Your Smartest Practices?

This list is by no means exhaustive. Your hearing specialist is the best place to begin concerning the dietary adjustments you need to make. And it’s worth bearing in mind that everybody will be impacted in their own way by dietary adjustments, so it might even be worth keeping a food journal where you can keep track of what impacts you and by how much.

Knowing what foods can trigger a tinnitus flare up can help you make smarter choices moving ahead. When you start to track what you eat, and what happens to your ears subsequently, you might begin to notice patterns, and that can remove some of the mystery out of your tinnitus symptoms.

Then you will appreciate 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.