How Certain Foods & Drinks May Cause Tinnitus Spikes

Photo of two glasses of wine, two cups of coffee and large baked dessertIf you suffer from tinnitus, you’ve probably experienced a phenomenon known as a tinnitus spike. Tinnitus spikes are changes in volume, intensity, tone, pitch or sound that makes your tinnitus harder to ignore. These spikes can last minutes, hours, days or weeks.

It’s important to know that tinnitus spikes are not a sign you’re regressing in your tinnitus habituation – they’re simply a part of the journey.

You may find that you experience tinnitus spikes after consuming certain foods or drinks. We explore this relationship below.

How to Identify Triggers for Tinnitus Spikes

The best way to identify triggers is to keep a journal. Ideally you should keep track of everything, including what activities you participated in, where you were, what you ate/drank and the severity of your tinnitus symptoms. After a few weeks, you can start to identify patterns.

Foods that Trigger Tinnitus Spikes

Everyone has different triggers for their tinnitus spikes, but below are some common culprits.


Alcoholic beverages cause dehydration and increase blood pressure, both of which can increase tinnitus symptoms. While some people with tinnitus can tolerate some alcohol, others find they cannot have any.


Caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea and soda can aggravate tinnitus, as they trigger stress responses, which are also associated with tinnitus. Note, however, that if you’re dependent on caffeine, stopping your intake may make your tinnitus worse before it gets better.


Excess salt leads to higher blood pressure and constricted blood vessels, making it harder for blood to circulate in the ears. Many people find that starting a low-sodium diet does wonders for their tinnitus.


Eating sugary foods can cause a spike in glucose levels, which can exacerbate tinnitus.

Saturated Fats

Saturated fats, like cheese, butter and red meat, are another group of foods that increase cholesterol levels and lead to atherosclerosis, a contributing factor for tinnitus.

Discuss Your Options

It’s important to discuss any major dietary changes with your doctor as well as which foods can boost your hearing health.


This information is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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