Audio Life Hearing Center- Knoxville, TN

Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

There is an inconsistency in tinnitus symptoms; they seem to appear and vanish, at times for no evident reason at all. Sometimes, it seems as if, for no apparent reason what so ever, your ears just begin buzzing. As you lie in bed, you consider your day, and there aren’t any clear triggers for this event: There is no apparent reason why, at 9 PM, ringing starts taking place, no noisy music, no loud fire alarms, nothing.

So perhaps the food you ate might be the answer. We don’t typically think about the link between hearing and food, but there’s a bit of research and evidence to suggest that tinnitus can be made worse by certain foods. In order to avoid those foods, you need to identify what they are.

What Foods Make Tinnitus Worse?

Let’s just dive right in, shall we? You would like to recognize what foods you should avoid so you can be sure you never have to experience one of those food-produced tinnitus episodes again. Here are some foods to stay away from:


At the top of the list of things to avoid are tobacco and alcohol. You will certainly want to abstain from drinking and smoking in order to lessen your chance of a tinnitus flare up’s even though tobacco isn’t really a food.

Your general health can be substantially impacted by tobacco and alcohol especially your blood pressure. Your tinnitus is increasingly more likely to flare up the more you smoke and drink


One of the top predictors of tinnitus flare-ups is your blood pressure. Your tinnitus worsens when your blood pressure increases. That’s why when you set your list of foods to stay away from, sodium should be at the top. You’ll need to substantially reduce your sodium intake whether you use salt on everything or you just love eating french fries.

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

Fast Food

It shouldn’t be surprising that you should stay away from fast food if you are avoiding sodium. The majority of fast-food places (even the ones that claim they are a healthier option) serve food that is loaded with salt and fat. And, of course, your blood pressure and your tinnitus will be adversely affected by this type of diet. Let’s not forget the huge drinks they serve that are extremely high in sugar. Yes you guessed it, sugar is next on this list.

Sweets And Sugars

Candy is something that all of us enjoy. Well, maybe not everyone, but the majority of us. There is a very small percentage of the populace that would actually prefer vegetables. No judgment here.

Sadly, sugar can completely throw off the equilibrium of glucose in your body. And a tiny disruption of your glucose balance can cause you to have a difficult time sleeping. In the quiet of the night, as you lie there awake, it becomes much easier to start to hear that ringing.


So, we saved this one for last because, well, we get it. Giving this one up is a hard pill to swallow. But having caffeine late in the day, whether from soda, tea, or coffee, can really mess up your sleep cycle. And the worse your quality of sleep, the more likely your tinnitus is to flare up.

So it’s not really the caffeine itself that’s the issue, it’s the lack of sleep. Drink your coffee or tea in the morning, and change to a non-caffeinated beverage before dinner.

Learn What Works Best For You

This list is by no means comprehensive. You’ll want to consult your hearing expert about any dietary modifications you may need to make. Let’s remember that dietary adjustments affect everyone differently, so in order to keep an eye on what works and what doesn’t, it may be a good idea to keep a food journal.

Moving ahead you will have an easier time making smart choices if you recognize how some foods affect you. When you begin to track what you eat, and what happens to your ears subsequently, you may start to detect patterns, and that can remove some of the mystery out of your tinnitus symptoms.

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

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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