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 discernible reason at all. Maybe you’re getting into bed one night and, apparently without warning, your ears start ringing something fierce. No matter how much you lie there and consider the reason why you’re hearing this buzzing, you can’t come up with any triggers during your day: There is no discernible reason why, at 9 PM, ringing starts taking place, no noisy music, no loud fire alarms, nothing.

So perhaps the food you ate might be the answer. We don’t typically think about the connection 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.

Some Foods Which Trigger Tinnitus

Let’s just cut right to the chase, shall we? You won’t want to experience a food related tinnitus episode so it’s important to recognize what foods can cause it. Here are some foods to avoid:


High on the list of items to steer clear of are alcohol and tobacco. You will definitely want to avoid drinking and smoking so that you can decrease your chance of a tinnitus episode even though tobacco isn’t really a food.

Your overall health can be drastically affected by alcohol and tobacco specifically your blood pressure. The more you drink (and smoke), the more likely your tinnitus will be to flare up.


One of the top predictors of tinnitus flare-ups is your blood pressure. When your blood pressure goes up, your tinnitus becomes worse. That’s why sodium should definitely be on your list of food foods to avoid. Whether you love eating french fries or just put salt on everything, you’ll want to ease up a lot.

There are certain foods that you don’t typically consider to be high in sodium including ice cream. But to avoid any sudden tinnitus episodes you will need to keep track of sodium content.

Fast Food

It shouldn’t be shocking that you should avoid fast food if you are avoiding sodium. Most fast-food joints (even the ones that claim they are a healthier option) serve food that is jam-packed with salt and fat. And, once again, that’s going to have a big consequence on your blood pressure and, consequently, your tinnitus. Fast food outlets also normally serve shockingly large beverages, and those beverages are very high in sugar. Which brings us to the next food you should avoid.

Sugars and Sweets

We all enjoy candy. Well, most of us enjoy candy. There is a very small portion of the population that would actually prefer veggies. No judgment from us.

Regrettably, the glucose balance in your body can be greatly disrupted by sugar. And a little disruption of your glucose stability can cause you to have a hard time sleeping. In the quiet of the night, as you lie there awake, it becomes a lot easier to begin to hear that ringing.


There’s an apparent reason why we saved this one for last. This is the one we’re least positive about needing to eliminate. But having caffeine late in the day, whether from coffee, tea, or soda, can really ruin your sleep cycle. And your tinnitus is more likely to appear if you don’t get quality sleep.

So it’s not actually the caffeine itself that’s the problem, it’s the lack of sleep. Drink your coffee or tea in the morning, and change to a non-caffeinated drink before dinner.

What Are Your Smartest Practices?

This list is by no means comprehensive. You’ll want to speak with your hearing expert about any dietary modifications you might need to make. And it’s worth bearing in mind that everybody will be affected in their own way by dietary changes, so it could even be worth keeping a food journal where you can track what impacts you and by how much.

Recognizing which foods can cause a tinnitus episode can help you make wiser choices moving ahead. When you begin tracking what you eat, and what happens to your ears subsequently, you may begin to note patterns, and that can remove some of the mystery out of your tinnitus symptoms.

Then you will recognize if you are going to regret that late cup of coffee.

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