Evanston Audiology - Evanston, IL

Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

Tinnitus flare ups are rarely constant; it seems difficult to understand when and why these sounds occur. At times, it seems like, for no recognizable reason at all, your ears just start buzzing. As you lie in bed, you think back over your day, and there are no clear causes for this event: There is no apparent reason why, at 9 PM, ringing is taking place, no noisy music, no loud fire alarms, nothing.

So possibly the food you ate may be the reason. We don’t typically think about the link between hearing and food, but there’s a bit of research and evidence to suggest that tinnitus can be made worse by particular foods. In order to stay away from those foods, you need to find out what they are.

What Foods Make Tinnitus Worse?

Let’s just cut right to the chase, shall we? You won’t want to experience a food triggered tinnitus event so it’s important to identify which foods can cause it. Some foods to avoid may include:

Alcoholic Beverages

High on the list of items to steer clear of are alcohol and tobacco. You will certainly want to abstain from smoking and drinking in order to lessen your chance of a tinnitus episode even though tobacco isn’t actually a food.

Your general health can be substantially affected by alcohol and tobacco especially your blood pressure. The more you drink (and smoke), the more likely your tinnitus will be to flare up.


One of the top predictors of tinnitus episodes is your blood pressure. When your blood pressure rises, your tinnitus becomes worse. That’s the reason why when you make 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 ease up a lot.

There are certain foods that you don’t usually 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

It shouldn’t be surprising that you should avoid fast food if you are avoiding sodium. Most fast-food places (even the ones that bill themselves as a healthier alternative) serve food that is packed with salt and fat. And, once 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. Yes you guessed it, sugar is next on this list.

Sweets And Sugars

Candy is something that all of us love. Well, maybe not everyone, but most of us. From time to time, you’ll run into someone who sincerely prefers veggies over candy. We try not to pass judgment.

Sadly, the glucose balance in your body can be greatly disrupted by sugar. And as you’re attempting to fall asleep at night, a small disturbance to that balance can mean lots of tossing and turning. And the more you toss and turn, the more you start listening for that ringing and buzzing.


There’s an apparent reason why we saved 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 likely your tinnitus is to flare up.

So it’s not really the caffeine per se that’s the issue, it’s the lack of sleep. Switch over to a drink that doesn’t have caffeine in the evenings and save your caffeine for the morning.

What Are Your Smartest Practices?

This is definitely not an exhaustive list. Your hearing expert is the best place to begin when it comes to the dietary adjustments you need to undertake. Let’s remember that dietary adjustments affect everyone differently, so it might even be worth maintaining a food journal where you can track what affects you and by how much.

Going forward you will have an easier time making smart decisions if you understand how particular foods affect you. When you start tracking what you eat, and what happens to your ears subsequently, you may begin to note patterns, and that can remove some of the mystery out of your tinnitus symptoms.

If you decide on that evening of coffee, at least you know what you’re in for.

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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