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Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

Tinnitus flare ups are hardly ever continuous; they seem to appear and disappear, at times for no evident reason at all. Occasionally, it seems as if, for no recognizable reason at all, 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 think of any triggers during your day: no loud music, no screeching fire alarms, nothing that could explain why your tinnitus chose 9 PM to flare up.

So possibly the food you ate may be the reason. We don’t generally think about the link between food and hearing, but there’s a bit of research and evidence to suggest that certain foods can make tinnitus worse. The trick for you is understanding what those foods are, so you can avoid them.

Which Foods Worsen Tinnitus?

Let’s just cut right to the chase, shall we? You would like to recognize which foods you should avoid so you can make certain you never have to experience one of those food-produced tinnitus episodes again. Here are some foods to stay away from:

Alcoholic Drinks

High on the list of things to steer clear of are tobacco and alcohol. You will definitely want to avoid smoking and drinking so that you can lessen your chance of a tinnitus flare up’s even though tobacco isn’t actually a food.

Both tobacco and alcohol products can have a significant effect on your blood pressure (not to mention your total health). Your tinnitus is increasingly 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 goes up, your tinnitus becomes worse. That’s the reason sodium should absolutely be on your list of food foods to stay away from. You’ll need to drastically decrease your sodium intake whether you use salt on everything or you just love to eat french fries.

There are some foods that you don’t commonly consider high in sodium including ice cream. You’ll need to keep close track of sodium levels in everything you eat to avoid a surprise tinnitus episode.

Fast Food

It shouldn’t be shocking that you should stay away from fast food if you are avoiding sodium. Most fast-food joints (even the ones that bill themselves as a healthier option) serve food that is packed with salt and fat. And, clearly, your blood pressure and your tinnitus will be adversely impacted by this kind of diet. Let’s not forget the huge drinks they serve that are very high in sugar. Yes you guessed it, sugar is next on this list.

Sugars and Sweets

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 judge.

Sadly, 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. And the more you toss and turn, the more you start listening for that buzzing and ringing.


There’s an obvious reason why we saved this one for last. This is the one we’re least positive about needing to give up. But your sleep cycle can be significantly impacted if you have any kind of caffeine later in the day. And your tinnitus is more likely to appear if you aren’t getting quality sleep.

It’s really 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 drink before dinner.

What Are Your Smartest Practices?

This is certainly not an exhaustive list. You’ll want to speak with your hearing professional about any dietary modifications you might need to make. Let’s not forget that dietary changes impact everyone in a different way, so it could even be worth maintaining a food journal where you can track what impacts you and by how much.

Recognizing which foods can lead to a tinnitus event can help you make more intelligent choices going ahead. When you begin keeping track of how your ears respond to different foods, the reason for your tinnitus may become less mysterious.

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

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.
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