Geneva Hearing Services - Geneva, IL

Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

There is an inconsistency in tinnitus symptoms; it seems difficult to identify when and why these sounds happen. At times, it seems like, for no recognizable reason at all, your ears just start buzzing. No matter how long you lie in bed and think about the reason why you’re hearing this buzzing, you can’t identify any triggers in your day: no noisy music, no shrieking fire alarms, nothing that could explain why your tinnitus chose 9 PM to flare up.

So maybe it’s the food. We don’t typically 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 determining what those foods are, so you can steer clear of them.

Some Foods Which Trigger Tinnitus

So let’s get right to it. You want to find out what foods you should steer clear of so you can make sure you never have to experience one of those food-produced tinnitus attacks again. Some foods to avoid might include:


At the top of the list of items to steer clear of are alcohol and tobacco. Alright, alright, “tobacco” isn’t necessarily food, but if you want to reduce tinnitus flare up’s (and the intensity of those episodes), you’ll avoid smoking and drinking as much as possible.

Your general health can be significantly affected by alcohol and tobacco particularly 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 biggest predictors of tinnitus flare ups. When your blood pressure goes up, your tinnitus gets worse. That’s why sodium should definitely be on your list of food foods to avoid. You’ll want to drastically decrease your sodium consumption whether you put salt on everything or you just love eating french fries.

There are a few foods that you don’t commonly consider to be high in sodium including ice cream. But to prevent any sudden tinnitus episodes you will need to keep your eye on sodium content.

Fast Food

If you’re staying away from sodium, it should come as no shock that you should also be avoiding fast food. Even fast food places that boast of being a more healthy alternative serve food that is extremely high in fat and sodium. And, once again, that’s going to have a substantial consequence on your blood pressure and, hence, your tinnitus. Let’s not forget the enormous drinks they serve which are extremely high in sugar. Yes you guessed it, sugar is next on the list.

Sweets And Sugars

Candy is something that we all enjoy. Well, most of us love candy. There is a very small percentage of the population that would actually prefer vegetables. No judgment here.

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 small disturbance to that balance can mean a lot of tossing and turning. In the silence of the night, as you lie there awake, it becomes a lot easier to begin to hear that ringing.


There’s an apparent reason why we saved this one for last. Quitting this one is a hard pill to swallow. But drinking caffeine late in the day, whether from coffee, tea, or soda, can really ruin your sleep cycle. And the worse your quality of sleep, the more likely your tinnitus is to flare up.

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 drink before dinner.

What Are Your Smartest Practices?

This list is certainly not exhaustive. Your hearing expert is the ideal place to start concerning the dietary adjustments you need to undertake. And it’s worth remembering that everyone will be impacted in their own way by dietary adjustments, so it might even be worth maintaining a food journal where you can track what impacts you and by how much.

Recognizing what foods can lead to a tinnitus event can help you make better decisions moving forward. When you begin tracking what you eat, and what happens to your ears subsequently, you may begin to detect patterns, and that can remove some of the mystery out of your tinnitus symptoms.

If you decide on 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.
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