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Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

There is an inconsistency in symptoms of tinnitus; it appears difficult to identify when and why these sounds happen. Maybe you’re climbing into bed one night and, seemingly out of the blue, your ears begin to ring something fierce. No matter how much you lie in bed and think about the reason why you’re hearing this buzzing, you can’t think of any triggers during your day: There is no discernible reason why, at 9 PM, ringing is happening, no loud music, no loud fire alarms, nothing.

So maybe it’s the something you ate. Normally we don’t associate 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. The key for you is determining what those foods are, so you can stay away from them.

Which Foods Worsen Tinnitus?

So let’s get right down to it. You won’t want to go through a food triggered tinnitus episode so you need to identify which foods can cause it. Here are some foods to avoid:

Alcoholic Drinks

Alcohol and tobacco should be at the top of the list of items to stay away from. Alright, alright, “tobacco” isn’t actually food, but if you want to minimize tinnitus episodes (and the intensity of those episodes), you’ll avoid smoking and drinking as much as you can.

Both alcohol and tobacco products can have a substantial impact on your blood pressure (to say nothing of your overall health). Your tinnitus is increasingly more likely to flare up the more you drink and smoke.

Sodium

One of the best predictors of tinnitus episodes is your blood pressure. When your blood pressure rises, your tinnitus gets worse. That’s why when you make your list of foods to avoid, sodium should be at the top. Whether you enjoy french fries or just put salt on everything, you’ll want to cut way, way back.

There are some foods that are surprisingly high in sodium, too, including ice cream (which you don’t normally think of as tasting very salty). But to prevent any sudden tinnitus episodes you will need to keep track of sodium content.

Fast Food

It shouldn’t be shocking that you should avoid fast food if you are avoiding sodium. The majority of fast-food places (even the ones that claim they are a healthier option) serve food that is packed with salt and fat. And, again, that’s going to have a substantial consequence on your blood pressure and, therefore, your tinnitus. Let’s not forget the huge drinks they serve that are very high in sugar. Which brings us to the next food to avoid.

Sweets And Sugars

Candy is something that we all enjoy. Well, maybe not everybody, but the majority of us. From time to time, you’ll encounter someone who genuinely prefers veggies over candy. No judgment from us.

Unfortunately, the glucose balance in your body can be significantly disrupted by sugar. And a little disruption of your glucose stability can cause you to have a hard time sleeping. And the more you toss and turn, the more you start listening for that ringing and buzzing.

Caffeine

There is an apparent reason why we kept this one for last. This is the one we’re least pleased about needing to give up. But having caffeine late in the day, whether from coffee, tea, or soda, can really ruin your sleep cycle. And your tinnitus is more likely to appear if you aren’t getting quality sleep.

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

What Are Your Smartest Practices?

This list is by no means exhaustive. Your hearing specialist is the best place to start concerning the dietary modifications you need to undertake. Let’s remember that dietary changes affect everyone differently, so it might even be worth maintaining a food journal where you can keep track of what affects you and by how much.

Recognizing what foods can cause a tinnitus flare up can help you make better decisions going ahead. When you begin tracking what you eat, and what happens to your ears afterward, you might begin to note patterns, and that can take some of the mystery out of your tinnitus symptoms.

If you have that last cup of coffee, at least you know what you’re in for.