Coastal Hearing Aid Center - Encinitas, CA

Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

There is an inconsistency in tinnitus symptoms; they seem to appear and vanish, sometimes for no evident reason at all. Sometimes, it seems as if, for no apparent reason at all, your ears just begin to buzz. No matter how much you lie there and consider the reason why you hear this buzzing, you can’t think of any triggers during your day: no noisy music, no shrieking fire alarms, nothing that might explain why your tinnitus chose 9 PM to mount a flare-up.

So maybe it’s the something you ate. Generally 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 some foods. In order to avoid those foods, it’s important to know what they are.

Some Foods That Activate Tinnitus

So let’s get right to it. You won’t want to go through a food triggered tinnitus event so you need to recognize what foods can trigger it. Some foods to avoid may include:

Alcoholic Drinks

High on the list of things to stay away from are tobacco and alcohol. Okay, okay, “tobacco” isn’t actually food, but if you want to lessen tinnitus flare up’s (and the severity of those episodes), you’ll avoid drinking and smoking as much as possible.

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


One of the best predictors of tinnitus flare-ups is your blood pressure. When your blood pressure goes up, your tinnitus becomes worse. That’s the reason sodium should definitely be on your list of food substances 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 many foods that are shockingly high in sodium, also, such as ice cream (which you don’t commonly think of as tasting particularly salty). You’ll need to watch out for sodium levels in everything you eat to avoid a surprise tinnitus episode.

Fast Food

It shouldn’t be shocking that you should stay away from fast food if you are avoiding sodium. The majority of fast-food joints (even the ones that claim they are a healthier option) serve food that is loaded with salt and fat. And, once again, that’s going to have a substantial consequence on your blood pressure and, therefore, your tinnitus. Let’s not forget the giant drinks they serve that are very high in sugar. Yes you guessed it, sugar is next on this list.

Sweets And Sugars

Candy is something that we all enjoy. Well, maybe not everyone, but the majority of us. There is a very small portion of the populace that would actually prefer vegetables. We try not to judge.

Sad to say, the glucose balance in your body can be seriously disrupted by sugar. And as you’re trying to fall asleep at night, a little disruption to that balance can mean lots of tossing and turning. And the more you toss and turn, the more you start listening for that ringing and buzzing.


There’s an apparent reason why we saved this one for last. Quitting this one is a hard pill to swallow. But your sleep cycle can be significantly affected if you have any caffeine later in the day. And your tinnitus is more likely to appear if you don’t get quality sleep.

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

What Are Your Best Practices?

This is definitely not an exhaustive list. You’ll want to consult your hearing professional about any dietary modifications you might need to make. Let’s not forget that dietary adjustments affect everyone differently, so in order to keep an eye on what works and what doesn’t, it might be a good idea to keep a food journal.

Understanding what foods can trigger a tinnitus episode can help you make better choices moving forward. When you begin tracking what you eat, and what happens to your ears subsequently, you might begin to note patterns, and that can remove some of the mystery out of your tinnitus symptoms.

If you have that last cup of coffee, at least you know what you’re in for.

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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