Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

There is an inconsistency in tinnitus symptoms; it seems to be difficult to identify why and when these sounds happen. Occasionally, it seems like, for no evident 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 causes for this event: There is no noticeable reason why, at 9 PM, ringing is happening, no loud music, no loud fire alarms, nothing.

So maybe it’s the food. We don’t generally think about the link between food and hearing, but there’s a bit of research and evidence to suggest that tinnitus can be made worse by particular foods. In order to avoid those foods, you need to identify what they are.

What Foods Make Tinnitus Worse?

Let’s just cut right to the chase, shall we? You don’t want to experience a food related tinnitus event so it’s important to know which foods can cause it. Some foods to avoid may include:

Alcoholic Beverages

Alcohol and tobacco should be high on the list of items to stay away from. Okay, okay, “tobacco” isn’t actually food, but if you want to decrease tinnitus episodes (and the intensity of those episodes), you’ll avoid drinking and smoking as much as possible.

Both tobacco and alcohol products can have an enormous effect on your blood pressure (to say nothing of 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 episodes. When your blood pressure goes up, your tinnitus becomes worse. That’s the reason sodium should definitely be on your list of food substances to stay away from. You’ll need to substantially reduce your sodium consumption whether you put salt on everything or you just love eating french fries.

There are many foods that are surprisingly high in sodium, too, like ice cream (which you don’t commonly think of as tasting especially salty). You’ll need to keep close track of sodium levels in anything you eat to prevent a surprise tinnitus event.

Fast Food

If you’re keeping away from sodium, it should come as no surprise that you should also be avoiding fast food. Even fast food places that boast of being a more healthy alternative serve food that is really high in sodium and fat. And, again, that’s going to have a big consequence on your blood pressure and, consequently, your tinnitus. Fast food restaurants also tend to serve astonishingly large beverages, and those beverages are very high in sugar. Yes you guessed it, sugar is next on the list.

Sweets And Sugars

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

Unfortunately, sugar can really throw off the stability of glucose in your body. And as you’re attempting to go to sleep at night, a little disturbance to that balance can mean lots 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.


There’s an apparent reason why we saved this one for last. Quitting this one is a tough pill to swallow. But having caffeine late in the day, whether from soda, tea, or coffee, can really mess up your sleep cycle. And the less quality sleep you get, the more likely your tinnitus is to flare up.

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

What Are Your Best Practices?

This list is by no means exhaustive. You’ll want to speak with your hearing professional about any dietary modifications you may need to make. Let’s not forget that dietary adjustments affect everyone in a unique way, so in order to monitor what is working and what isn’t, it might be a smart idea to keep a food journal.

Knowing what foods can lead to a tinnitus event can help you make wiser decisions going ahead. When you begin tracking what you eat, and what happens to your ears afterward, you might begin 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 regret 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.