Does Diet Affect Tinnitus?


Tinnitus, also known as “ringing in the ears”, affects approximately 50 million Americans. Tinnitus, although often characterized as a “ringing” noise, is not limited to ringing, and can include roaring, hissing, buzzing, or even clicking. Tinnitus can be annoying at minimum, and absolutely devastating at the worst points, as the sound frequency ranges from minimal to extreme, depending on a number of factors.

One of these factors that may affect tinnitus is food and drink consumption. The ATA recommends trial-and-error to help find your triggers (PDF). One of the best ways to implement a trial-and-error system is by keeping track of all food and drink intake with a food journal. We’ve talked about food journals in relation to IBS before, and the same principles apply with respect to tinnitus. You can find our post about food journals here. One word of caution when starting a food/drink journal for tinnitus: tinnitus has a very strong psychosomatic component. By focusing on your tinnitus and concentrating energy on eliminating it in this regard, it may seem like your tinnitus is worse than before.

In the treatment of tinnitus, perhaps the most-highly recommended item to abstain from is caffeine. Many doctors and health professionals recommend cutting caffeine as a means to help reduce your tinnitus symptoms. Anecdotally, there are many examples (including feedback from our customers) of a caffeine reduction resulting in a positive effect on tinnitus. There are some warnings associated with this as well, as a 2010 study found no link to caffeine reduction and improved tinnitus symptoms. Furthermore, if you drink caffeine frequently, the sudden withdrawal from it may be shocking to your system, causing headaches and nausea.

As many sufferers of tinnitus search for a cure, one question frequently comes up: does diet affect tinnitus? While there is plenty of anecdotal evidence, scientific studies have not yielded results in favor of that idea. The answer, therefore, is still inconclusive. If you wish to adjust your food or drink intake, please be advised of the potential complications, outlined above. When in doubt, a healthy, balanced diet is usually best. Eat plenty of vegetables, exercise regularly, and get a good night’s sleep. If you’re struggling with tinnitus, Ring Relief may be able to help.