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Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

Tinnitus symptoms are rarely continuous; they seem to appear and disappear, at times for no discernible reason at all. Maybe you’re getting into bed one night and, apparently out of nowhere, your ears begin to ring something fierce. As you lie in bed, you consider your day, and there aren’t any clear causes for this event: There is no tangible reason why, at 9 PM, ringing is taking place, no noisy music, no loud fire alarms, nothing.

So possibly the food you ate could be the reason. We don’t generally think about the connection between hearing and food, but there’s a bit of research and evidence to suggest that tinnitus can be made worse by some foods. In order to stay away from those foods, you need to find out what they are.

Which Foods Make Tinnitus Worse?

Let’s just dive right in, shall we? You would like to find out which kind of foods you should steer clear of so you can make sure you never have to experience one of those food-produced tinnitus attacks again. Certain foods to avoid may include:


Alcohol and tobacco should be high on the list of things to stay clear of. Alright, alright, “tobacco” isn’t necessarily food, but if you want to minimize tinnitus attacks (and the intensity of those episodes), you’ll avoid smoking and drinking as much as possible.

Both tobacco and alcohol products can have a significant impact on your blood pressure (to say nothing of your total health). The more you indulge, the more likely a tinnitus flare up will be.


Your blood pressure is one of the leading predictors of tinnitus flare ups. When your blood pressure goes up, your tinnitus gets worse. That’s why sodium should definitely be on your list of food substances to avoid. Whether you love eating french fries or just put salt on everything, you’ll want to cut way, way back.

There are a few foods that you don’t normally consider high in sodium like ice cream. But to prevent any sudden tinnitus episodes you will want to keep your eye on 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. Most fast-food places (even the ones that claim they are 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 type of diet. Fast food outlets also usually serve shockingly big beverages, and those beverages are mostly sugar. Yes you guessed it, sugar is next on this list.

Sweets And Sugars

Candy is something that we all love. Well, the majority of us love candy. From time to time, you’ll run into someone who genuinely prefers veggies over chocolate. No judgment here.

However, the glucose balance in your body can be significantly disrupted by sugar. And as you’re attempting to get to sleep at night, a little disturbance to that balance can mean a lot of tossing and turning. And the more you toss and turn, the more you start listening for that buzzing and ringing.


So, we saved caffeine for last because, well, it’s a tough one. This is the one we’re least pleased about having to give up. But having caffeine late in the day, whether from coffee, tea, or soda, can really ruin your sleep cycle. And the less quality sleep you get, the more your tinnitus is likely to flare up.

It’s really the lack of sleep, not the caffeine that’s the issue. Change over to a beverage that doesn’t have caffeine at night and save your caffeine for the morning.

Discover What Works Best For You

This is definitely not a comprehensive list. Your hearing expert is the best place to start when it comes to the dietary modifications you need to make. And it’s worth remembering that everybody will be affected differently by dietary adjustments, so in order to keep track of what works and what doesn’t, it might be a good idea to keep a food journal.

Understanding what foods can lead to a tinnitus episode can help you make smarter choices moving ahead. When you start keeping track of how your ears respond to different foods, the cause of your tinnitus might become less mysterious.

Then you will appreciate if you are going to be sorry for that late cup of coffee.

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