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Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

There is an inconsistency in symptoms of tinnitus; they seem to come and go, at times for no apparent reason at all. Occasionally, it seems as if, for no recognizable reason what so ever, your ears just begin to buzz. No matter how much you lie in bed and consider the reason why you’re hearing this buzzing, you can’t think of any triggers in your day: no noisy music, no shrieking fire alarms, nothing that might explain why your tinnitus chose 9 PM to flare up.

So perhaps the food you ate might be the reason. We don’t normally 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 find out what they are.

Some Foods That Activate Tinnitus

Let’s just dive right in, shall we? You want to identify which kind of foods you should avoid so you can be sure you never have to experience one of those food-produced tinnitus outbreaks again. Certain foods to avoid may include:

Alcoholic Beverages

Alcohol and tobacco should be at the top of the list of things to avoid. You will definitely want to avoid drinking and smoking so that you can lessen your risk of a tinnitus flare up’s despite the fact that tobacco isn’t really a food.

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


One of the most useful predictors of tinnitus flare-ups is your blood pressure. Your tinnitus gets worse when your blood pressure goes up. That’s why when you make your list of foods to avoid, sodium needs to be at the top. Whether you love eating 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, like ice cream (which you don’t usually think of as tasting particularly salty). But to prevent any sudden tinnitus episodes you will need to keep your eye on 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 say they are a more healthy alternative serve food that is really high in fat and sodium. And, of course, your blood pressure and your tinnitus will be negatively affected by this type of diet. Let’s not forget the giant drinks they serve which are extremely high in sugar. Which brings us to the next food you should avoid.

Sugars and Sweets

We all enjoy candy. Well, maybe not everybody, but the majority of us. From time to time, you’ll come across someone who genuinely prefers broccoli over chocolate. We try not to judge.

Unfortunately, sugar can really throw off the stability of glucose in your body. And a little disruption of your glucose balance can cause you to have a difficult time sleeping. In the silence of the night, as you lie there awake, it becomes much easier to start to hear that ringing.


There is an obvious reason why we kept this one for last. Quitting this one is a tough pill to swallow. But your sleep cycle can be significantly affected if you drink any caffeine late in the day. And your tinnitus is more likely to flare up if you aren’t getting quality sleep.

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

What Are Your Smartest Practices?

This list is certainly not comprehensive. You’ll want to consult your hearing professional about any dietary changes you may need to make. Let’s not forget that dietary changes affect everyone differently, so in order to keep track of what is working and what isn’t, it may be a good idea to keep a food journal.

Being aware of what foods can lead to a tinnitus event can help you make better decisions going forward. When you begin keeping track of how your ears respond to different foods, the reason for your tinnitus could become less incomprehensible.

If you decide on 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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