American Hearing & Audiology - Conway, AR

Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

Tinnitus symptoms are hardly ever continuous; they seem to appear and vanish, at times for no discernible reason at all. Maybe you’re getting into bed one night and, apparently out of the blue, your ears start ringing badly. As you lie in bed, you think back over your day, and there are no clear causes for this event: no noisy music, no screeching fire alarms, nothing that could explain why your tinnitus chose 9 PM to flare up.

So maybe it’s the food. 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. The secret for you is identifying what those foods are, so you can steer clear of them.

Which Foods Worsen Tinnitus?

So let’s get right to it. You would like to identify what foods you should steer clear of so you can make certain you never have to go through one of those food-produced tinnitus attacks again. Here are some foods to stay away from:

Alcoholic Drinks

At the top of the list of items to stay away from are tobacco and alcohol. You will definitely want to abstain from smoking and drinking so that you can lessen your chance of a tinnitus episode even though tobacco isn’t really a food.

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


Your blood pressure is one of the leading predictors of tinnitus flare ups. Your tinnitus worsens when your blood pressure increases. That’s why sodium should definitely be on your list of food substances to stay away from. You’ll need to substantially reduce your sodium consumption whether you use salt on everything or you just love eating french fries.

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

Fast Food

If you’re steering clear of sodium, it should come as no shock that you should also be avoiding fast food. Even fast food places that say they are a more healthy alternative serve food that is extremely high in fat and sodium. And, clearly, your blood pressure and your tinnitus will be adversely impacted by this kind of diet. Let’s not forget the enormous drinks they serve that are very high in sugar. Yes you guessed it, sugar is next on the list.

Sugars and Sweets

Candy is something that we all enjoy. Well, the majority of us love candy. There is a very small portion of the population that would actually prefer veggies. We try not to pass judgment.

Unfortunately, sugar can completely throw off the equilibrium of glucose in your body. And a tiny disruption of your glucose balance can cause you to have a hard time sleeping. In the quiet of the night, while you lie there awake, it becomes a lot easier to start to hear that ringing.


So, we saved this one for last because, well, it’s a tough one. This is the one we’re least positive about having to eliminate. But drinking caffeine late in the day, whether from coffee, tea, or soda, can really wreck your sleep cycle. And the worse your quality of sleep, the more likely your tinnitus is to flare up.

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

Discover What Works Best For You

This list is by no means comprehensive. Your hearing expert is the ideal place to start when it comes to the dietary adjustments you need to undertake. Let’s remember that dietary changes impact everyone in a different way, so in order to monitor what is working and what isn’t, it might be a smart idea to keep a food journal.

Understanding which foods can lead to a tinnitus event can help you make better choices going forward. When you start tracking how your ears respond to different foods, the reason for your tinnitus may become less mysterious.

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


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