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Enhanced Hearing Center - Springfield, MO

Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

There is an inconsistency in tinnitus symptoms; it appears difficult to know why and when these sounds occur. Maybe you’re climbing into bed one night and, apparently without warning, your ears begin to ring badly. As you lie in bed, you consider your day, and there are no clear causes 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 possibly the food you ate could be the reason. Usually we don’t connect the idea of food with hearing, but there’s a bit of research and evidence to suggest that tinnitus can be made worse by certain foods. In order to stay away from those foods, it’s important to find out what they are.

Some Foods That Activate Tinnitus

So let’s get right down to it. You won’t want to experience a food triggered tinnitus episode so it’s important to find out which foods can trigger it. Certain foods to stay away from might include:


At the top of the list of items to steer clear of are tobacco and alcohol. You will definitely want to abstain from smoking and drinking so that you can decrease your risk of a tinnitus episode even though tobacco isn’t actually a food.

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


Your blood pressure is one of the leading predictors of tinnitus flare ups. When your blood pressure rises, your tinnitus gets worse. That’s why sodium should certainly be on your list of food foods to avoid. You’ll want to substantially decrease your sodium consumption whether you use salt on everything or you just love eating french fries.

There are certain foods that you don’t commonly consider to be high in sodium like ice cream. But to avoid any sudden tinnitus episodes you will want to keep track of sodium content.

Fast Food

If you’re keeping away from sodium, it should come as no surprise that you should also be avoiding fast food. The majority of fast-food joints (even the ones that bill themselves as a healthier choice) serve food that is packed with salt and fat. And, again, that’s going to have a substantial impact on your blood pressure and, therefore, your tinnitus. Let’s not forget the giant drinks they serve that are very high in sugar. Which brings us to the next food you should avoid.

Sweets And Sugars

We all love candy. Well, the majority of us love candy. From time to time, you’ll come across someone who sincerely prefers veggies over chocolate. We try not to pass judgment.

Unfortunately, the glucose balance in your body can be seriously disrupted by sugar. And a tiny disruption of your glucose stability can cause you to have a hard time trying to sleep. In the quiet of the night, while you lie there awake, it becomes much easier to start to hear that ringing.


There’s an obvious reason why we kept this one for last. This is the one we’re least pleased about having to give up. But using caffeine late in the day, whether from soda, tea, or coffee, can really wreck your sleep cycle. And the less quality sleep you get, the more your tinnitus is likely to flare up.

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

Learn What Works Best For You

This is definitely not a comprehensive list. You’ll want to consult your hearing expert about any dietary modifications you might need to make. Let’s remember that dietary adjustments affect everyone in a unique way, so it might even be worth keeping a food journal where you can keep track of what affects you and by how much.

Knowing which foods can cause a tinnitus flare up can help you make smarter decisions going ahead. When you begin to track what you eat, and what happens to your ears afterward, 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.

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