Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

Tinnitus flare ups are not usually continuous; it seems to be difficult to identify why and when these sounds occur. Perhaps you’re climbing into bed one night and, apparently out of the blue, your ears begin to ring badly. No matter how much you lie there and think about the reason why you hear this buzzing, you can’t think of any triggers during your day: There is no discernible reason why, at 9 PM, ringing starts happening, no noisy music, no loud fire alarms, nothing.

So perhaps the food you ate could be the answer. Ordinarily we don’t link the idea of food with hearing, but there’s a bit of research and evidence to suggest that some foods can make tinnitus worse. In order to steer clear of those foods, you need to recognize what they are.

Which Foods Make Tinnitus Worse?

So let’s get right to it. You won’t want to go through a food related tinnitus episode so you need to find out what foods can trigger it. Here are some foods to avoid:

Alcoholic Beverages

Alcohol and tobacco should be high on the list of items to stay clear of. You will definitely want to abstain from drinking and smoking so that you can reduce your chance of a tinnitus episode even though tobacco isn’t really a food.

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


Your blood pressure is one of the most significant predictors of tinnitus episodes. Your tinnitus worsens when your blood pressure rises. That’s why when you set your list of foods to stay away from, sodium needs to be at the top. Whether you love eating french fries or just put salt on everything, you’ll want to cut way, way back.

There are many foods that are remarkably high in sodium, too, like ice cream (which you don’t usually think of as tasting particularly salty). But to avoid any sudden tinnitus episodes you will want to keep track of sodium content.

Fast Food

It shouldn’t be shocking that you should stay away from fast food if you are avoiding sodium. Even fast food joints that claim to be a more healthy option serve food that is really high in sodium and fat. And, of course, your blood pressure and your tinnitus will be adversely affected by this kind of diet. Fast food restaurants also usually serve astonishingly huge drinks, and those drinks are very high in sugar. Which brings up the next food you should avoid.

Sweets And Sugars

Candy is something that all of us love. Well, the majority of us enjoy candy. Every once in a while, you’ll run into someone who genuinely prefers broccoli over chocolate. We try not to judge.

However, the glucose balance in your body can be greatly disrupted by sugar. And a small disruption of your glucose balance can cause you to have a hard time trying to sleep. And the more you toss and turn, the more you begin to listen for that ringing and buzzing.


There is an apparent reason why we kept this one for last. This is the one we’re least happy about having to eliminate. But your sleep cycle can be dramatically affected if you have any caffeine later in the day. And your tinnitus is more likely to flare up if you aren’t getting quality sleep.

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

What Are Your Smartest Practices?

This is definitely not an exhaustive list. Your hearing specialist is the best place to begin regarding the dietary changes you need to undertake. And it’s worth bearing in mind that everyone will be impacted in their own way by dietary modifications, so it might even be worth maintaining a food journal where you can keep track of what impacts you and by how much.

Being aware of which foods can lead to a tinnitus episode can help you make wiser decisions going ahead. When you start to track what you eat, and what happens to your ears afterward, you might start to detect patterns, and that can take some of the mystery out of your tinnitus symptoms.

Then you will appreciate if you are going to regret 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.
Why wait? You don't have to live with hearing loss. Call or Text Us