Hearing Health Blog

Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

There is an inconsistency in tinnitus symptoms; it seems difficult to identify why and when these sounds happen. Perhaps you’re getting into bed one night and, seemingly out of nowhere, your ears begin to ring badly. As you lie in bed, you think back over your day, and there are no clear triggers for this event: no noisy music, no shrieking fire alarms, nothing that could explain why your tinnitus chose 9 PM to mount a flare-up.

So maybe it’s the food. Normally we don’t link 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. In order to avoid those foods, it’s important to recognize what they are.

Some Foods Which Activate Tinnitus

Let’s just dive right in, shall we? You would like to know which kind of foods you should steer clear of so you can be sure you never have to experience one of those food-generated tinnitus episodes again. Some foods to stay away from might include:

Alcoholic Drinks

Alcohol and tobacco should be at the top of the list of things to stay clear of. You will certainly want to abstain from 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 an enormous impact on your blood pressure (not to mention your general health). The more you indulge, the more likely your tinnitus will be to flare up.


One of the best predictors of tinnitus episodes is your blood pressure. When your blood pressure goes up, your tinnitus worsens. That’s the reason sodium should definitely be on your list of food foods to avoid. You’ll want to drastically decrease your sodium consumption whether you put salt on everything or you just love eating french fries.

There are some foods that you don’t normally consider high in sodium such as ice cream. You’ll want to keep an eye on sodium levels in anything you eat to prevent a surprise tinnitus event.

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 claim they are a healthier alternative) serve food that is jam-packed with salt and fat. And, once again, that’s going to have a substantial impact on your blood pressure and, therefore, your tinnitus. Let’s not forget the enormous drinks they serve which are very high in sugar. Yes you guessed it, sugar is next on the list.

Sweets And Sugars

We all love candy. Well, the majority of us enjoy candy. From time to time, you’ll run into someone who sincerely prefers veggies over chocolate. We try not to judge.

Unfortunately, the glucose balance in your body can be seriously disrupted by sugar. And as you’re trying to get to sleep at night, a little disruption to that balance can mean lots of tossing and turning. In the quiet of the night, as you lie there awake, it becomes much easier to start to hear that ringing.


There’s an apparent reason why we saved this one for last. Giving this one up is a hard pill to swallow. But drinking caffeine late in the day, whether from coffee, tea, or soda, can really ruin your sleep cycle. And the worse your quality of sleep, the more likely your tinnitus is to flare up.

It’s really the lack of sleep, not the caffeine that’s the issue. Switch over to a drink that doesn’t have caffeine in the evenings and save your caffeine for the morning.

What Are Your Best Practices?

This list is by no means comprehensive. You’ll want to talk to your hearing specialist about any dietary changes you might need to make. And it’s worth remembering that everybody will be impacted differently by dietary modifications, so it may even be worth maintaining a food journal where you can keep track of what impacts you and by how much.

Moving forward you will have an easier time making wise decisions if you recognize how certain foods affect you. When you begin to track what you eat, and what happens to your ears subsequently, you might begin to notice patterns, and that can remove some of the mystery out of your tinnitus symptoms.

Then you will know if you are going to be sorry for 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.
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