Did You Know That Food And Tinnitus Have a Link?

Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

There is an inconsistency in tinnitus symptoms; it seems to be difficult to understand why and when these sounds occur. Occasionally, it seems as if, for no evident reason what so ever, your ears just start to buzz. No matter how long you lie in bed and think about the reason why you hear this buzzing, you can’t come up with any triggers during your day: no loud music, no screeching fire alarms, nothing that would explain why your tinnitus chose 9 PM to flare up.

So maybe it’s the food. Generally 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 some foods. The key for you is identifying what those foods are, so you can avoid them.

Some Foods Which Trigger Tinnitus

Let’s just dive right in, shall we? You don’t want to go through a food related tinnitus episode so you need to identify which foods can cause it. Here are some foods to stay away from:


Alcohol and tobacco should be high on the list of things to stay away from. Alright, okay, “tobacco” isn’t necessarily food, but if you want to lessen tinnitus attacks (and the intensity of those episodes), you’ll steer clear of smoking and drinking as much as possible.

Both tobacco and alcohol products can have a significant impact on your blood pressure (to say nothing of your total health). The more you drink (and smoke), the more likely your tinnitus will be to flare up.


One of the best predictors of tinnitus flare-ups is your blood pressure. When your blood pressure goes up, your tinnitus gets worse. 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 cut way, way back.

There are many foods that are surprisingly high in sodium, too, like ice cream (which you don’t typically think of as tasting very salty). But to avoid any sudden tinnitus episodes you will need to keep track of sodium content.

Fast Food

It shouldn’t be surprising that you should stay away from fast food if you are avoiding sodium. Even fast food joints that boast of being a more healthy alternative serve food that is really high in fat and sodium. And, again, that’s going to have a big consequence on your blood pressure and, hence, your tinnitus. Fast food outlets also tend to serve astonishingly big beverages, and those beverages are mostly sugar. Yes you guessed it, sugar is next on the list.

Sweets And Sugars

We all love candy. Well, maybe not everyone, but the majority of us. There is a very small portion of the population that would actually prefer vegetables. No judgment here.

Regrettably, sugar can completely throw off the equilibrium of glucose in your body. And as you’re attempting to fall asleep at night, a little disruption to that balance can mean lots of tossing and turning. In the silence of the night, while you lie there awake, it becomes much easier to begin to hear that ringing.


So, we saved caffeine for last because, well, we get it. This is the one we’re least pleased about needing to eliminate. But having caffeine late in the day, whether from soda, tea, or coffee, can really wreck 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 problem, it’s the lack of sleep. Change over to a drink that doesn’t have caffeine at night and save your caffeine for the morning.

Learn What Works Best For You

This list is by no means comprehensive. Your hearing expert is the ideal place to start when it comes to the dietary adjustments you need to make. Let’s not forget that dietary changes affect everyone differently, so in order to monitor what works and what doesn’t, it might be a smart idea to keep a food journal.

Being aware of which foods can trigger a tinnitus episode can help you make better choices moving forward. When you start tracking how your ears respond to different foods, the cause of your tinnitus might 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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