Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

There is an inconsistency in symptoms of tinnitus; it appears difficult to identify why and when these sounds occur. Maybe you’re climbing into bed one night and, evidently without warning, your ears start ringing badly. As you lie in bed, you think back over your day, and there aren’t any clear triggers for this episode: There is no discernible reason why, at 9 PM, ringing is happening, no noisy music, no loud fire alarms, nothing.

So perhaps the food you ate could be the answer. We don’t usually think about the connection between hearing and food, but there’s a bit of research and evidence to suggest that some foods can make tinnitus worse. The secret for you is identifying what those foods are, so you can avoid them.

Some Foods That Trigger Tinnitus

So let’s get right down to it. You want to know which foods you should avoid so you can make sure you never have to go through one of those food-generated tinnitus attacks again. Certain foods to avoid could include:


At the top of the list of things to avoid are tobacco and alcohol. You will definitely want to avoid smoking and drinking in order to decrease your chance of a tinnitus episode despite the fact that tobacco isn’t really a food.

Both alcohol and tobacco products can have a substantial effect on your blood pressure (not to mention your overall health). Your tinnitus is increasingly more likely to flare up the more you smoke and drink


Your blood pressure is one of the biggest predictors of tinnitus flare ups. Your tinnitus worsens when your blood pressure goes up. That’s the reason why when you set your list of foods to avoid, sodium should be at the top. You’ll want to substantially decrease your sodium consumption whether you use salt on everything or you just love to eat french fries.

There are a few foods that you don’t usually consider to be high in sodium including ice cream. You’ll need to keep close track of sodium levels in everything you eat to avoid a surprise tinnitus episode.

Fast Food

It shouldn’t be surprising that you should avoid fast food if you are avoiding sodium. Even fast food places that claim to be a more healthy option serve food that is very high in fat and sodium. And, clearly, your blood pressure and your tinnitus will be negatively affected by this type of diet. Let’s not forget the enormous drinks they serve which are very high in sugar. Yes you guessed it, sugar is next on this list.

Sweets And Sugars

We all enjoy candy. Well, maybe not everyone, but most of us. There is a very small percentage of the population that would actually prefer vegetables. We try not to pass judgment.

Sadly, sugar can really throw off the equilibrium of glucose in your body. And as you’re attempting to go to sleep at night, a small disruption to that balance can mean a lot 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 kept this one for last. Quitting this one is a hard pill to swallow. But your sleep cycle can be substantially impacted if you have any caffeine late in the day. And the worse your quality of sleep, the more likely your tinnitus is to flare up.

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

What Are Your Smartest Practices?

This is certainly not an exhaustive list. Your hearing specialist is the ideal place to begin when it comes to the dietary modifications you need to make. Let’s not forget that dietary changes affect everyone in a different way, so it could even be worth maintaining a food journal where you can track what impacts you and by how much.

Understanding which foods can cause a tinnitus episode can help you make wiser decisions moving ahead. When you begin to track what you eat, and what happens to your ears subsequently, you might start to notice patterns, and that can take some of the mystery out of your tinnitus symptoms.

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

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.
Why wait? You don't have to live with hearing loss. Call or Text Us