Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

There is an inconsistency in tinnitus symptoms; it appears difficult to understand when and why these sounds happen. Sometimes, it seems as if, for no recognizable reason at all, your ears just start to buzz. No matter how long you lie there and contemplate the reason why you’re hearing this buzzing, you can’t come up with any triggers in your day: no loud music, no shrieking fire alarms, nothing that could explain why your tinnitus chose 9 PM to mount a flare-up.

So maybe it’s the something you ate. Generally we don’t link 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. In order to avoid those foods, it’s important to know what they are.

Which Foods Worsen Tinnitus?

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


At the top of the list of items to steer clear of are alcohol and tobacco. You will absolutely want to abstain from drinking and smoking so that you can decrease your risk of a tinnitus flare up’s even though tobacco isn’t actually a food.

Both alcohol and tobacco products can have a significant impact on your blood pressure (not to mention your overall health). The more you indulge, the more likely a tinnitus flare up will be.


Your blood pressure is one of the most significant predictors of tinnitus flare ups. When your blood pressure goes up, your tinnitus worsens. That’s the reason why when you set your list of foods to stay away from, sodium should be at the top. You’ll want to substantially decrease your sodium intake whether you use salt on everything or you just love eating french fries.

There are certain foods that are shockingly high in sodium, also, including ice cream (which you don’t typically think of as tasting very salty). But to prevent any sudden tinnitus episodes you will need to keep track of sodium content.

Fast Food

If you’re avoiding sodium, it should come as no shock that you should also be avoiding fast food. Most fast-food restaurants (even the ones that bill themselves as a healthier alternative) serve food that is loaded with salt and fat. And, of course, your blood pressure and your tinnitus will be adversely affected by this type of diet. Fast food restaurants also normally serve astonishingly huge drinks, and those beverages are very high in sugar. Yes you guessed it, sugar is next on this list.

Sweets And Sugars

Candy is something that we all enjoy. Well, maybe not everyone, but the majority of us. There is a very small percentage of the population that would actually prefer veggies. We try not to pass judgment.

Sad to say, the glucose balance in your body can be seriously disrupted by sugar. And a small disturbance of your glucose balance can cause you to have a hard time sleeping. In the quiet of the night, as you lie there awake, it becomes a lot easier to begin to hear that ringing.


There is an apparent reason why we kept this one for last. This is the one we’re least positive about needing to give up. But drinking caffeine late in the day, whether from soda, tea, or coffee, 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 itself that’s the issue, it’s the lack of sleep. Switch over to a beverage that doesn’t have caffeine in the evenings and save your caffeine for the morning.

What Are Your Smartest Practices?

This is certainly not a comprehensive list. You’ll want to consult your hearing professional about any dietary modifications you might need to make. Let’s remember that dietary adjustments impact everyone differently, so in order to monitor what is working and what isn’t, it might be a good idea to keep a food journal.

Understanding what foods can trigger a tinnitus event can help you make better choices moving forward. When you start monitoring how your ears react to different foods, the cause of your tinnitus might become less mysterious.

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.