The Association Between Tinnitus And Food

Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

Tinnitus flare ups are hardly ever constant; it seems to be difficult to know why and when these sounds happen. Sometimes, it seems like, for no recognizable reason what so ever, your ears just start to buzz. 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: no noisy music, no screeching fire alarms, nothing that might explain why your tinnitus chose 9 PM to mount a flare-up.

So possibly the food you ate could be the answer. We don’t normally think about the link between food and hearing, but there’s a bit of research and evidence to suggest that some foods can make tinnitus worse. In order to stay away from those foods, you need to find out what they are.

What Foods Make Tinnitus Worse?

So let’s get right down to it. You don’t want to go through a food triggered tinnitus event so it’s important to identify which foods can trigger it. Some foods to avoid might include:

Alcoholic Drinks

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

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


One of the top predictors of tinnitus episodes is your blood pressure. When your blood pressure rises, your tinnitus becomes worse. That’s why when you create your list of foods to stay away from, sodium needs to 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 some foods that are shockingly high in sodium, also, like ice cream (which you don’t normally think of as tasting particularly salty). You’ll want to keep close track of sodium levels in everything you eat to prevent a surprise tinnitus event.

Fast Food

If you’re steering clear of sodium, it should come as no shock that you should also be avoiding fast food. The majority of 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, hence, your tinnitus. Let’s not forget the huge drinks they serve that are very high in sugar. Which brings up the next food to avoid.

Sweets And Sugars

Candy is something that all of us enjoy. Well, maybe not everyone, but the majority of us. Every now and then, you’ll come across someone who genuinely prefers veggies over chocolate. No judgment from us.

Regrettably, sugar can really throw off the balance of glucose in your body. And a little disruption of your glucose balance can cause you to have a difficult time sleeping. And the more you toss and turn, the more you begin to listen for that ringing and buzzing.


So, we saved caffeine for last because, well, we get it. This is the one we’re least positive about having to eliminate. But using caffeine late in the day, whether from soda, tea, or coffee, can really ruin your sleep cycle. And the worse your quality of sleep, the more likely your tinnitus is to flare up.

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

Learn What Works Best For You

This is certainly not an exhaustive list. You’ll want to talk to your hearing specialist about any dietary changes you may need to make. And it’s worth remembering that everyone will be impacted 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.

Going forward you will have an easier time making smart decisions if you understand how certain foods affect you. When you start keeping track of how your ears react to different foods, the reason for your tinnitus may become less incomprehensible.

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

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.