There is no strong evidence proving that particular foods cause or worsen tinnitus. However, some people may find that their dietary choices affect symptoms.

Tinnitus is a condition that causes a persistent ringing or buzzing in the ears, although the sound has no external source. It is common, affecting up to 1 in 4 adults.

The causes of tinnitus are unclear, but many individuals living with the condition have some degree of hearing loss. There is no cure, but certain approaches may reduce symptoms, including sound therapy devices, behavioral therapies, and medications.

This article explores the potential role of diet in tinnitus and other tips for managing the condition.

Dirty dishes and coffee cups in a sink.Share on Pinterest
DZ FILM/Stocksy

Some people with tinnitus believe certain foods or drinks can exacerbate or reduce their symptoms. However, research on the relationship between diet and tinnitus severity is limited.

For example, an older study from 2014 of middle-aged adults in the United Kingdom investigated the relationship between dietary factors and the presence of tinnitus. It used data from more than 170,000 people who responded to specific tinnitus-related questions.

The results indicated an association between persistent tinnitus and:

  • the avoidance of dairy
  • increased consumption of fruits and vegetables
  • increase bread intake, particularly wholegrain bread

The researchers defined persistent tinnitus as tinnitus that is “present at least a lot of the time.”

Conversely, those who ate more fish and fewer eggs were less likely to report persistent tinnitus.

The associations between dietary components and tinnitus were modest in this study, and small in comparison to the links between tinnitus and other factors, such as age and noise exposure.

The findings also do not prove that these dietary habits are the cause of tinnitus, nor that changing them would improve symptoms.

A 2019 study notes that the overall evidence that food can be a tinnitus trigger is weak. The nonprofit Tinnitus UK notes that no consistent research proves that particular foods or drinks influence tinnitus severity.

There is a lack of robust proof that any specific food worsens tinnitus.

Nonetheless, certain dietary choices have gained a reputation for their potential impact on tinnitus, even though their effects may vary from person to person. We examine the evidence for them below.


The relationship between caffeine and tinnitus receives a lot of attention. However, according to the American Tinnitus Association, very little scientific evidence shows caffeine exacerbates tinnitus.


As with caffeine, there is a lack of evidence that alcohol affects tinnitus symptoms. If a person does not notice a link, they may not need to change their intake. That said, reducing alcohol intake could benefit overall health.


There is a significant correlation between salt consumption and Ménière’s symptoms. Ménière’s disease is a chronic inner ear disorder that can cause a spinning sensation, hearing loss, and tinnitus.

However, there is no scientific evidence supporting salt’s connection with tinnitus that is not due to Ménière’s disease.

While scientific research has not verified a strong connection between tinnitus and diet, some people anecdotally report a relationship. People who are curious about what worsens their own tinnitus can:

  • Start a symptom diary: People can monitor their tinnitus by documenting the date, time, and perceived severity of their symptoms, as well as factors that might influence these symptoms, such as stress levels, or transitions from loud to quiet environments.
  • Use a severity scale: People can implement a straightforward rating system to gauge the severity of tinnitus symptoms. For instance, they could rate the symptoms on a scale from 1 (mild) to 10 (severe).
  • Track dietary choices: People who believe certain foods worsen their tinnitus can also record the types and quantities of foods and beverages they consume.
  • Identify patterns: After consistently recording symptoms and dietary preferences, review the diary entries for recurring patterns or trends.
  • Seek professional guidance: Individuals should consult a healthcare professional or audiologist if they identify potential links between tinnitus symptoms and specific foods or triggers. These experts can provide guidance, conduct further assessments, and assist in creating a personalized plan to manage tinnitus effectively.

There is some evidence that the risk of developing tinnitus is linked to certain nutrients. For example, research from 2018 noted that low vitamin B2 and B3, water, and protein intake were associated with tinnitus.

More recent 2020 research also found that eating a high intake of protein reduced the risk of tinnitus, as well as vitamin B12. Conversely, higher intakes of calcium, iron, and fat were associated with an increased likelihood.

However, while these findings suggest a potential relationship between nutrition and tinnitus, it is unclear whether they are accurate across the broader population.

Learn more about B12 and tinnitus.

Although some research points toward nutrition playing a role in the development of tinnitus, there is no consistent evidence that specific foods, diets, or supplements can help treat it.

For example, a 2024 study of 140 people with idiopathic tinnitus found that supplementing with vitamin B12 had no distinctive effect on tinnitus symptoms. An older 2013 study of 100 people reached similar conclusions. While some participants responded, the improvement was variable from person to person.

That said, it is still important to maintain a balanced and nutritious diet. This can benefit overall health, improve blood flow, and improve emotional well-being, which may make tinnitus easier to cope with.

Learn more in this guide to eating a balanced diet.

Other strategies that may help with managing tinnitus include:

  • Noise management: Some find it helpful to use background noise, such as white noise machines or calming music, to mask the tinnitus sounds and make them less noticeable.
  • Stress reduction: High stress levels may intensify tinnitus. Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to help reduce stress.
  • Hearing protection: It may help to protect the ears from loud sounds. People can ask their doctor for advice on the best ear protection for concerts, events, or their workplace.
  • Social activities and hobbies: Isolation can negatively impact mental health, and may cause a person to focus more on their tinnitus. Social experiences and hobbies may provide something positive to focus on.

There are also medical treatments for tinnitus, such as sound therapy, behavioral therapies, and medications.

There is no consistent evidence that specific foods worsen tinnitus in people who already have the condition.

However, there is some evidence that certain nutrients may increase or decrease the risk of developing tinnitus. Salt can also worsen a specific condition, known as Ménière’s disease, that causes tinnitus as a symptom.

People who are curious about a potential connection between foods, or any other triggers, and their tinnitus symptoms can try keeping a symptom log. Over time, they may spot patterns.

However, it is worth noting that no diet or supplement is proven to be effective for treating tinnitus. Focusing on overall well-being, stress reduction, and noise management may help.