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Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

There is an inconsistency in tinnitus symptoms; it seems difficult to identify why and when these sounds happen. Sometimes, it seems as if, for no evident reason what so ever, your ears just begin buzzing. As you lie in bed, you think back over your day, and there are no clear causes for this episode: There is no apparent reason why, at 9 PM, ringing is taking place, no loud music, no loud fire alarms, nothing.

So maybe it’s the something you ate. We don’t usually think about the connection between food and hearing, but there’s a bit of research and evidence to suggest that some foods can make tinnitus worse. In order to stay away from those foods, it’s important to know what they are.

Some Foods That Activate Tinnitus

So let’s get right down to it. You want to recognize what foods you should avoid so you can make certain you never have to experience one of those food-produced tinnitus attacks again. Here are some foods to stay away from:


Alcohol and tobacco should be high on the list of things to stay away from. Alright, alright, “tobacco” isn’t necessarily food, but if you want to minimize tinnitus flare up’s (and the intensity of those episodes), you’ll steer clear of smoking and drinking as much as you can.

Both alcohol and tobacco products can have an enormous impact on your blood pressure (not to mention your total health). Your tinnitus is progressively more likely to flare up the more you smoke and drink


Your blood pressure is one of the biggest predictors of tinnitus episodes. Your tinnitus gets worse when your blood pressure rises. That’s the reason why when you make your list of foods to stay away from, sodium should be at the top. Whether you enjoy french fries or just put salt on everything, you’ll want to ease up a lot.

There are some foods that you don’t typically consider high in sodium like ice cream. But to avoid any sudden tinnitus episodes you will want to keep your eye on sodium content.

Fast Food

It shouldn’t be surprising that you should avoid fast food if you are avoiding sodium. Even fast food places that boast of being a more healthy alternative serve food that is very high in sodium and fat. And, once again, that’s going to have a big impact on your blood pressure and, therefore, your tinnitus. Fast food outlets also usually serve astonishingly big beverages, and those drinks are mostly sugar. Yes you guessed it, sugar is next on this list.

Sugars and Sweets

Candy is something that we all love. Well, most of us enjoy candy. There is a very small portion of the public that would actually prefer vegetables. We try not to judge.

Regrettably, sugar can completely throw off the equilibrium of glucose in your body. And as you’re trying to get to sleep at night, a small disturbance to that balance can mean a lot of tossing and turning. In the quiet of the night, as you lie there awake, it becomes much easier to start to hear that ringing.


There is an obvious reason why we saved this one for last. 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 ruin your sleep cycle. And your tinnitus is more likely to flare up if you aren’t getting quality sleep.

It’s actually the lack of sleep, not the caffeine that’s the issue. Change over to a drink that doesn’t have caffeine at night and save your caffeine for the morning.

What Are Your Best Practices?

This is definitely not a comprehensive list. Your hearing professional is the best place to start concerning the dietary modifications you need to undertake. And it’s worth keeping in mind that everyone will be affected differently by dietary changes, so it might even be worth keeping a food journal where you can track what impacts you and by how much.

Moving forward you will have an easier time making smart choices if you recognize how particular foods affect you. When you begin keeping track of how your ears react to different foods, the reason for your tinnitus may become less incomprehensible.

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

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