The Association Between Tinnitus And Food

Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

Tinnitus flare ups are rarely continuous; it appears difficult to understand when and why these sounds occur. Sometimes, it seems as if, for no apparent reason what so ever, your ears just begin buzzing. As you lie in bed, you think back over your day, and there aren’t any clear reasons for this event: There is no apparent reason why, at 9 PM, ringing is taking place, no loud music, no loud fire alarms, nothing.

So possibly the food you ate could be the reason. Normally 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 stay away from those foods, you need to know what they are.

Some Foods Which Trigger Tinnitus

So let’s get right down to it. You don’t want to go through a food related tinnitus event so it’s important to know what foods can trigger it. Here are some foods to stay away from:

Alcoholic Beverages

Alcohol and tobacco should be at the top of the list of items to stay clear of. Okay, alright, “tobacco” isn’t actually food, but if you want to lessen tinnitus attacks (and the severity of those episodes), you’ll avoid drinking and smoking as much as possible.

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


One of the best predictors of tinnitus flare-ups is your blood pressure. Your tinnitus gets worse when your blood pressure goes up. That’s the reason why sodium should definitely be on your list of food substances to stay away from. Whether you love french fries or just put salt on everything, you’ll want to ease up a lot.

There are some foods that are remarkably high in sodium, too, including ice cream (which you don’t normally think of as tasting especially salty). You’ll need to keep close track of sodium levels in everything you eat to prevent a surprise tinnitus event.

Fast Food

It shouldn’t be surprising that you should avoid fast food if you are avoiding sodium. Even fast food joints that say they are a more healthy option serve food that is extremely high in fat and sodium. And, of course, your blood pressure and your tinnitus will be negatively impacted by this kind of diet. Fast food outlets also usually serve shockingly huge beverages, and those drinks are mostly sugar. Yes you guessed it, sugar is next on the list.

Sugars and Sweets

Candy is something that all of us enjoy. Well, maybe not everyone, but most of us. Every once in a while, you’ll come across someone who actually prefers broccoli over chocolate. We try not to judge.

Regrettably, the glucose balance in your body can be greatly disrupted by sugar. 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 buzzing and ringing.


So, we saved this one for last because, well, it’s a tough one. Giving this one up is a hard pill to swallow. But your sleep cycle can be dramatically impacted if you drink any kind of caffeine late in the day. And the worse your quality of sleep, the more your tinnitus is likely to flare up.

It’s really the lack of sleep, not the caffeine that’s the problem. Switch over to a drink that doesn’t have caffeine in the evenings and save your caffeine for the morning.

Find out What Works Best For You

This list is by no means comprehensive. You’ll want to talk to your hearing specialist about any dietary modifications you might need to make. Let’s not forget that dietary adjustments impact everyone differently, so it might even be worth maintaining a food journal where you can track what affects you and by how much.

Moving ahead you will have an easier time making smart choices if you recognize how particular foods affect you. When you begin to track what you eat, and what happens to your ears subsequently, you may start to detect patterns, and that can take some of the mystery out of your tinnitus symptoms.

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.