Hearing Associates of Libertyville, IL

Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

Tinnitus symptoms are rarely continuous; it appears difficult to understand why and when these sounds occur. At times, it seems like, for no apparent reason at all, your ears just begin buzzing. As you lie in bed, you consider your day, and there are no clear reasons for this event: There is no discernible reason why, at 9 PM, ringing is happening, no noisy music, no loud fire alarms, nothing.

So possibly the food you ate may be the reason. Normally we don’t connect the idea of food with hearing, but there’s a bit of research and evidence to suggest that some foods can make tinnitus worse. The key for you is identifying what those foods are, so you can stay away from them.

Some Foods Which Trigger Tinnitus

So let’s get right to it. You would like to find out which foods you should avoid so you can make certain you never have to go through one of those food-produced tinnitus episodes again. Here are some foods to avoid:

Alcoholic Drinks

Alcohol and tobacco should be high on the list of things to stay clear of. You will certainly want to avoid smoking and drinking so that you can lessen your chance of a tinnitus flare up’s even though tobacco isn’t really a food.

Both tobacco and alcohol products can have a substantial effect on your blood pressure (to say nothing of your overall health). The more you indulge, the more likely a tinnitus flare up will be.


Your blood pressure is one of the leading predictors of tinnitus flare ups. When your blood pressure goes up, your tinnitus worsens. That’s why when you create your list of foods to avoid, sodium should be at the top. You’ll want to significantly decrease your sodium consumption whether you use salt on everything or you just love eating french fries.

There are certain foods that are shockingly high in sodium, too, such as ice cream (which you don’t usually think of as tasting especially salty). You’ll want to watch out for sodium levels in everything you eat to prevent a surprise tinnitus event.

Fast Food

It shouldn’t be shocking that you should stay away from fast food if you are avoiding sodium. Most fast-food joints (even the ones that bill themselves as a healthier option) serve food that is loaded with salt and fat. And, again, that’s going to have a substantial influence on your blood pressure and, therefore, your tinnitus. Let’s not forget the huge drinks they serve that are extremely high in sugar. Yes you guessed it, sugar is next on the list.

Sweets And Sugars

We all enjoy candy. Well, most of us enjoy candy. Every now and then, you’ll come across someone who sincerely prefers broccoli over candy. No judgment here.

Sadly, sugar can really throw off the equilibrium of glucose in your body. And as you’re attempting to go to sleep at night, a small disruption to that balance can mean lots of tossing and turning. In the quiet of the night, while you lie there awake, it becomes a lot easier to start to hear that ringing.


There’s an apparent reason why we saved this one for last. Giving this one up is a tough pill to swallow. But your sleep cycle can be significantly affected if you have any caffeine later in the day. 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. Have your coffee or tea in the morning, and switch to a non-caffeinated beverage before dinner.

What Are Your Best Practices?

This is absolutely not a comprehensive list. You’ll want to speak with your hearing professional about any dietary modifications you might need to make. And it’s worth remembering that everybody will be affected in their own way by dietary changes, so in order to keep an eye on what is working and what isn’t, it may be a good idea to keep a food journal.

Going forward you will have an easier time making smart choices if you know how certain foods affect you. When you start tracking what you eat, and what happens to your ears afterward, you might begin to detect patterns, and that can take some of the mystery out of your tinnitus symptoms.

Then you will recognize 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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