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Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

There is an inconsistency in tinnitus symptoms; they seem to appear and vanish, often for no apparent reason at all. Perhaps you’re getting into bed one night and, apparently out of nowhere, your ears start ringing badly. No matter how much you lie there and consider the reason why you’re hearing this buzzing, you can’t think of any triggers during your day: no loud music, no shrieking fire alarms, nothing that would explain why your tinnitus chose 9 PM to mount a flare-up.

So maybe it’s the food. We don’t normally 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 particular foods. In order to avoid those foods, you need to find out what they are.

Some Foods That Activate Tinnitus

Let’s just dive right in, shall we? You would like to find out what foods you should avoid so you can make certain you never have to experience one of those food-generated tinnitus attacks again. Here are some foods to stay away from:

Alcoholic Beverages

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

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


Your blood pressure is one of the leading predictors of tinnitus flare ups. When your blood pressure goes up, your tinnitus worsens. That’s why when you create your list of foods to avoid, sodium should be at the top. Whether you enjoy french fries or just put salt on everything, you’ll want to cut way, way back.

There are certain foods that you don’t commonly consider high in sodium such as ice cream. You’ll need to keep close track of sodium levels in anything you eat to prevent a surprise tinnitus event.

Fast Food

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

Sugars and Sweets

We all enjoy candy. Well, maybe not everybody, but most of us. There is a very small percentage of the populace that would actually prefer veggies. We try not to judge.

Sadly, the glucose balance in your body can be greatly disrupted by sugar. And as you’re trying to fall asleep at night, a small disturbance to that balance can mean lots of tossing and turning. And the more you toss and turn, the more you begin to listen for that buzzing and ringing.


There is an obvious reason why we saved this one for last. This is the one we’re least pleased about having to give up. But drinking caffeine late in the day, whether from coffee, tea, or soda, can really wreck your sleep cycle. And your tinnitus is more likely to flare up if you don’t get quality sleep.

So it’s not actually the caffeine itself that’s the issue, it’s the lack of sleep. Change over to a beverage that doesn’t have caffeine in the evenings and save your caffeine for the morning.

Learn What Works Best For You

This is absolutely not a comprehensive list. Your hearing professional is the best place to start when it comes to the dietary modifications you need to undertake. Let’s remember that dietary modifications impact everyone differently, so in order to keep track of what works and what doesn’t, it might be a smart idea to keep a food journal.

Going ahead you will have an easier time making wise decisions if you understand how some foods affect you. When you begin keeping track of how your ears respond to different foods, the explanation for your tinnitus could become less incomprehensible.

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


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