The Association Between Tinnitus And Food

Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

Tinnitus flare ups are not usually constant; it appears difficult to identify when and why these sounds occur. Maybe you’re getting into bed one night and, seemingly out of the blue, your ears start ringing something fierce. As you lie in bed, you think back over your day, and there aren’t any clear reasons for this event: no loud music, no screeching fire alarms, nothing that would explain why your tinnitus chose 9 PM to flare up.

So possibly the food you ate may be the reason. Typically we don’t associate the idea of food with hearing, but there’s a bit of research and evidence to suggest that tinnitus can be made worse by certain foods. The key for you is understanding what those foods are, so you can stay away from them.

Some Foods Which Activate Tinnitus

Let’s just cut right to the chase, shall we? You won’t want to experience a food related tinnitus event so you need to identify which foods can trigger it. Here are some foods to stay away from:

Alcoholic Drinks

High on the list of things to avoid are tobacco and alcohol. Okay, alright, “tobacco” isn’t necessarily food, but if you want to minimize tinnitus attacks (and the severity of those episodes), you’ll abstain from smoking and drinking as much as possible.

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


Your blood pressure is one of the biggest predictors of tinnitus episodes. When your blood pressure goes up, your tinnitus worsens. That’s the reason why when you set your list of foods to avoid, sodium should be at the top. Whether you love french fries or just put salt on everything, you’ll want to ease up a lot.

There are many foods that are remarkably high in sodium, also, including ice cream (which you don’t commonly think of as tasting particularly salty). But to avoid any sudden tinnitus episodes you will need to keep your eye on sodium content.

Fast Food

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

Sugars and Sweets

We all love candy. Well, the majority of us love candy. There is a very small percentage of the populace that would actually prefer vegetables. No judgment here.

Sadly, sugar can completely throw off the balance of glucose in your body. And a tiny disturbance of your glucose balance can cause you to have a difficult time trying to sleep. And the more you toss and turn, the more you start listening for that buzzing and ringing.


So, we saved this one for last because, well, we get it. This is the one we’re least pleased about needing to eliminate. But your sleep cycle can be dramatically affected if you drink any caffeine later in the day. And your tinnitus is more likely to flare up if you don’t get quality sleep.

So it’s not actually the caffeine per se that’s the problem, it’s the lack of sleep. Change over to a beverage that doesn’t have caffeine in the evenings and save your caffeine for the morning.

What Are Your Best Practices?

This is definitely not a comprehensive list. You’ll want to consult your hearing professional about any dietary adjustments you may need to make. Let’s not forget that dietary changes impact everyone differently, so it could even be worth keeping a food journal where you can track what affects you and by how much.

Moving ahead you will have an easier time making wise choices if you understand how particular foods affect you. When you begin tracking what you eat, and what happens to your ears afterward, you might start to notice patterns, and that can remove some of the mystery out of your tinnitus symptoms.

Then you will appreciate 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.