Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

Tinnitus flare ups are not usually constant; they seem to appear and disappear, sometimes for no evident reason at all. At times, it seems like, for no recognizable reason at all, your ears just begin buzzing. As you lie in bed, you consider your day, and there aren’t any clear reasons for this event: no loud music, no shrieking fire alarms, nothing that might explain why your tinnitus chose 9 PM to mount a flare-up.

So possibly the food you ate might be the answer. 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 certain foods. The key for you is learning what those foods are, so you can stay away from them.

Some Foods That Activate Tinnitus

Let’s just dive right in, shall we? You would like to find out which kind of foods you should stay away from so you can make certain you never have to experience one of those food-produced tinnitus attacks again. Some foods to avoid could include:

Alcoholic Drinks

At the top of the list of things to stay away from are alcohol and tobacco. You will absolutely want to avoid drinking and smoking in order to reduce your chance of a tinnitus episode despite the fact that tobacco isn’t actually a food.

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


One of the best predictors of tinnitus episodes is your blood pressure. When your blood pressure goes up, your tinnitus becomes worse. That’s the reason why when you make your list of foods to stay away from, sodium needs to be at the top. You’ll need to drastically decrease your sodium consumption whether you put salt on everything or you just love to eat french fries.

There are a few foods that you don’t normally consider high in sodium like ice cream. You’ll need to keep an eye on sodium levels in anything you eat to prevent a surprise tinnitus episode.

Fast Food

It shouldn’t be shocking that you should avoid fast food if you are avoiding sodium. Even fast food places that say they are a more healthy option serve food that is extremely high in sodium and fat. And, once again, that’s going to have a substantial influence on your blood pressure and, therefore, your tinnitus. Fast food restaurants also normally serve shockingly big drinks, and those beverages are very high in sugar. Yes you guessed it, sugar is next on this list.

Sugars and Sweets

Candy is something that we all enjoy. Well, the majority of us enjoy candy. Every now and then, you’ll come across someone who actually prefers broccoli over chocolate. No judgment from us.

Regrettably, sugar can completely throw off the balance of glucose in your body. And as you’re attempting to go to sleep at night, a little disturbance to that balance can mean lots 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. Giving this one up is a tough pill to swallow. But your sleep cycle can be significantly impacted if you drink any caffeine late in the day. And your tinnitus is more likely to flare up if you don’t get 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 beverage before dinner.

What Are Your Smartest Practices?

This is definitely not an exhaustive list. Your hearing expert is the best place to begin when it comes to the dietary modifications you need to make. And it’s worth remembering that everyone will be impacted differently by dietary changes, 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 trigger a tinnitus event can help you make more intelligent decisions going forward. When you start to track what you eat, and what happens to your ears afterward, you may start 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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