Puretone Hearing Aid Center - Longview, Marshall, and San Antonio, TX

Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

There is an inconsistency in symptoms of tinnitus; it appears difficult to understand when and why these sounds occur. At times, it seems like, for no recognizable reason what so ever, your ears just begin to buzz. No matter how much you lie in bed and contemplate the reason why you hear this buzzing, you can’t identify any triggers during your day: no noisy music, no screeching fire alarms, nothing that might explain why your tinnitus chose 9 PM to mount a flare-up.

So maybe it’s the food. Typically we don’t connect the idea of food with hearing, but there’s a bit of research and evidence to suggest that tinnitus can be made worse by particular foods. The secret for you is determining what those foods are, so you can stay away from them.

Some Foods Which Activate Tinnitus

Let’s just cut right to the chase, shall we? You don’t want to go through a food triggered tinnitus episode so it’s important to find out what foods can trigger it. Some foods to stay away from may include:


Alcohol and tobacco should be high on the list of things to stay away from. You will certainly want to avoid drinking and smoking so that you can decrease your risk of a tinnitus episode even though tobacco isn’t really a food.

Your general health can be substantially 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.


Your blood pressure is one of the leading predictors of tinnitus flare ups. When your blood pressure rises, your tinnitus gets worse. That’s why when you make your list of foods to avoid, sodium should be at the top. You’ll need to drastically decrease your sodium consumption whether you use salt on everything or you just love to eat french fries.

There are certain foods that are remarkably high in sodium, too, including ice cream (which you don’t usually think of as tasting very salty). But to avoid any sudden tinnitus episodes you will want to keep track of sodium content.

Fast Food

It shouldn’t be surprising that you should avoid fast food if you are avoiding sodium. The majority of fast-food places (even the ones that bill themselves as a healthier choice) serve food that is loaded with salt and fat. And, clearly, your blood pressure and your tinnitus will be adversely impacted by this kind of diet. Let’s not forget the massive drinks they serve which are very high in sugar. Which brings us to the next food to avoid.

Sweets And Sugars

We all enjoy candy. Well, maybe not everybody, but the majority of us. Every now and then, you’ll run into someone who actually prefers veggies over candy. We try not to pass judgment.

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


There’s an apparent reason why we saved this one for last. Quitting this one is a hard pill to swallow. But having caffeine late in the day, whether from soda, tea, or coffee, can really mess up your sleep cycle. And your tinnitus is more likely to appear if you aren’t getting quality sleep.

It’s actually the lack of sleep, not the caffeine that’s the issue. Have your coffee or tea in the morning, and switch to a non-caffeinated drink before dinner.

What Are Your Best Practices?

This is certainly not an exhaustive list. You’ll want to consult your hearing professional about any dietary changes you may need to make. Let’s not forget that dietary changes impact everyone in a unique way, so it could even be worth maintaining a food journal where you can keep track of what affects you and by how much.

Being aware of what foods can trigger a tinnitus flare up can help you make smarter choices going ahead. When you begin to track what you eat, and what happens to your ears subsequently, you may begin to detect patterns, and that can take some of the mystery out of your tinnitus symptoms.

If you decide on that last cup of coffee, at least you know what you’re dealing with.


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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.