Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

Tinnitus flare ups are almost never constant; it seems to be difficult to identify when and why these sounds happen. At times, it seems like, for no apparent reason at all, your ears just start to buzz. As you lie in bed, you think back over your day, and there are no clear triggers for this event: There is no apparent reason why, at 9 PM, ringing is taking place, no loud music, no loud fire alarms, nothing.

So maybe it’s the something you ate. Normally 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. In order to stay away from those foods, you need to know what they are.

Some Foods Which Activate Tinnitus

Let’s just cut right to the chase, shall we? You would like to identify which foods you should avoid so you can make sure you never have to experience one of those food-generated tinnitus episodes again. Here are some foods to avoid:


Alcohol and tobacco should be at the top of the list of things to stay clear of. Okay, okay, “tobacco” isn’t necessarily food, but if you want to minimize tinnitus flare up’s (and the intensity of those episodes), you’ll avoid drinking and smoking as much as possible.

Your overall health can be substantially impacted by tobacco and alcohol especially your blood pressure. The more you indulge, the more likely a tinnitus flare up will be.


Your blood pressure is one of the leading predictors of tinnitus episodes. Your tinnitus worsens when your blood pressure rises. That’s why sodium should absolutely be on your list of food foods to avoid. You’ll need to drastically reduce your sodium intake whether you put salt on everything or you just love to eat french fries.

There are some foods that you don’t commonly consider to be high in sodium like ice cream. 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 avoid fast food if you are avoiding sodium. Even fast food joints that claim to be a more healthy alternative serve food that is extremely high in sodium and fat. And, once again, that’s going to have a substantial impact on your blood pressure and, hence, your tinnitus. Let’s not forget the enormous drinks they serve which are extremely high in sugar. Which brings us to the next food you should avoid.

Sweets And Sugars

We all love candy. Well, the majority of us enjoy candy. There is a very small portion of the populace that would actually prefer veggies. We try not to judge.

Regrettably, the glucose balance in your body can be seriously disrupted by sugar. And a tiny disruption of your glucose stability can cause you to have a hard time sleeping. In the quiet of the night, while you lie there awake, it becomes much easier to start to hear that ringing.


There is an obvious reason why we saved this one for last. This is the one we’re least pleased about having to give up. But your sleep cycle can be substantially affected if you drink any kind of caffeine late in the day. And the worse your quality of sleep, the more likely your tinnitus is to flare up.

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

Learn What Works Best For You

This list is certainly not comprehensive. You’ll want to speak with your hearing expert about any dietary changes you might need to make. Let’s not forget that dietary modifications impact everyone differently, so it might even be worth maintaining a food journal where you can keep track of what impacts you and by how much.

Recognizing what foods can trigger a tinnitus event can help you make more intelligent choices moving forward. When you start tracking what you eat, and what happens to your ears subsequently, 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.
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