Foods don't cause or cure tinnitus, but a change in diet may help, depending on the underlying cause of the problem. Tinnitus isn't a disease or condition itself. It's a symptom of an underlying condition. If you're bothered by a ringing sensation in your ear, talk to your doctor to find the cause and establish a treatment plan.
Though tinnitus is usually described as a ringing in the ear or ears, it can also be a hissing, clicking, buzzing or roaring sound that can be loud or soft and high- or low-pitched. The American Tinnitus Association estimates that 50 million Americans suffer from tinnitus to some degree. About 16 million of those sufferers are troubled enough to seek medical treatment. There's no cure for tinnitus, but there are steps you can take to help treat the problem.
To reduce the noise of tinnitus, it's important to determine the cause of the ringing sensation. Tinnitus can be caused by something as simple as wax buildup in the ear or result from extreme noise or noise-induced hearing loss. The symptom can be a result of an ear or sinus infection, hormonal changes in women, thyroid abnormalities, Meniere's disease or a brain tumor. Many medications also can bring on a case of tinnitus. In rare cases, the ringing sound may be a result of heart or blood vessel problems. In those cases, adopting a more heart-healthy eating plan may help. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, lean meats and low-fat dairy products.
Hypertension or other factors that increase blood pressure can make tinnitus more noticeable. The American Tinnitus Association recommends going through a process of elimination to see if changes in your diet will help. Stress, alcohol and caffeine can all increase blood pressure, so find more time to relax and cut back on alcoholic beverages and coffees, teas and sodas with caffeine. Foods high in salt, artificial sweeteners and sugar also can aggravate tinnitus. What works for one person may not work for you, so take the time to pay attention to your triggers and experiment with dietary changes.
If making changes to your diet doesn't affect your tinnitus, there are a number of other treatments to consider. Work with your doctor to see if changing any of your current medications might help. Have your ears examined for wax buildup. Try suppressing the noise with white-noise machines, hearing aids or masking devices worn in the ear. Ask about prescription medications that may help reduce the severity of tinnitus.