5 Foods That Can Help or Harm Your Hearing

Why Eating Right Has Never Sounded So Good
Last update on Jan, 30, 2024

As we age, taking charge of our health becomes top of mind—and for good reason. We all want to live longer, feel stronger, and retain our independence to pursue the lifestyle we want and spend more time with the people who matter most.

What better place to start than with our diet? After all, the nutrients we eat affect more than our physical appearance and wellness. They also play a pivotal role in our hearing health journey.

For example, vitamins and minerals like folates and magnesium have numerous benefits for your entire body, including hearing. In contrast, processed foods and alcohol may trigger tinnitus or cause us to develop other hearing-related issues.

In this article, we'll discuss the best and worst nutrients for hearing health and dispel some myths about pursuing a ‘tinnitus diet’ that may be confusing. By the end, you'll feel confident in your relationship with food and how it impacts your hearing health.

Essential Nutrients for Hearing

Always consult your primary care doctor before starting a new diet and work with a hearing care provider to ensure you receive the best treatment plan possible.


Potassium is critical to helping us maintain fluid balance in our bodies, which is essential for the proper functioning and health of the hair cells located in the inner ear. These hair cells are integral to hearing, and any damage to them could result in permanent hearing loss.

To maintain healthy levels of potassium, your clinician may recommend supplements or the following food sources:

  • Bananas
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Winter squash
  • Salmon
  • Beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Almonds


Magnesium may help protect our ears from the harmful effects of noise and reduce the severity of tinnitus symptoms, according to a small study.

While further research is needed on the connection between magnesium and tinnitus, this essential mineral along with zinc is one of the most widely marketed supplements for reducing tinnitus symptoms.

Aside from using supplements, a few foods rich in magnesium include:

  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Dark chocolate
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries


Zinc is known for its immune-boosting powers and ability to help fight off colds, viruses, and other harmful invaders. It also plays a critical role in the maintenance of sensory organs, including the ears.

Interest in the potential use of zinc as a supplement for tinnitus has been fueled by the high concentration of zinc found in the cochlea, the tiny snail shaped structure that houses the inner ear hair cells.

As research on this topic has produced some mixed results, it's recommended to consult your hearing care provider before deciding whether to include zinc supplements in your tinnitus management plan.

Zinc-powered foods include:

  • Whole grains
  • Red meat
  • Shellfish
  • Legumes
  • Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Dairy
  • Dark chocolate

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps us maintain bone health, including the three tiny yet significant bones in our middle ear.

Vitamin D is essential for people of all ages, but it is especially crucial for older adults, who often have lower vitamin D levels.

Your clinician may recommend Vitamin D supplements, but food sources high in this vitamin include:

  • Egg yolks
  • Tuna
  • Cheese
  • Fortified milk
  • Salmon
  • Cod liver oil


Folates belong to the vitamin B family, which help us fight off the harmful free radicals that lead to various health issues in our bodies over time. Free radicals can cause a decrease in blood flow to the inner ear, which can damage the sensory cells in the ear.

Research has also shown that folate deficiencies may also be linked to an increased risk of age-related hearing loss.

Folate-rich food sources include:

  • Beans
  • Peanuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Whole Grains
  • Citrus Fruits
  • Eggs

What Foods to Avoid If You Have Tinnitus?

Tinnitus can affect anyone, but there are certain foods that trigger tinnitus to occur more frequently. This is often due to their impact on the body's fluid levels or blood flow to the ears.


Let's review a few foods that trigger or exacerbate tinnitus:



Research has shown that individuals with tinnitus have reported a ringing in the ears after eating salty food. Because salt restricts blood vessels, it increases blood pressure within the major arteries while lowering blood flow to the eyes, ears, and brain


Caffeine, a natural stimulant found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and some medications, can cause a decrease in blood flow to the ears, which may lead to an aggravation of tinnitus symptoms.

It should be noted that more conclusive research is needed, as some findings have suggested contrasting results. Nevertheless, if you're experiencing a worsening of tinnitus symptoms after consuming large quantities of caffeine, your hearing care provider may recommend limiting your daily intake.


Reports indicate that a significant number of people who suffer from tinnitus may have a problem with their sugar metabolism. This can lead to an excess of glucose in the bloodstream, causing the pancreas to release more insulin.

Individuals with tinnitus who follow a diabetic diet may experience an improvement in their tinnitus symptoms.


Drinking alcohol can increase blood flow to the inner ear, causing tinnitus to occur. Tinnitus may last for a short time or become long-term, depending on how much alcohol you consume. For example, if you drink excessively, it may lead to permanent tinnitus.

Saturated fats

Foods high in saturated fats, such as cheeses, cured meats, or butter can significantly raise cholesterol levels in the body.

This increase in cholesterol can contribute to the development of atherosclerosis, a condition characterized by the buildup of plaque in the arteries, and may be linked to tinnitus.

Misconceptions about Pursuing a Tinnitus Diet

While it may seem tempting to believe claims on the internet that allege "diet cured my tinnitus," it's important to separate fact from fiction. The truth is that there is no known cure for tinnitus. However, certain foods may help you manage it.

So, while you may not be able to eliminate the ringing or humming in your ears completely, you can take steps to reduce their occurrences. Remember, managing tinnitus means working with a hearing care provider to find an appropriate treatment plan that works for your individual situation and sticking to it. 

Your Hearing Health Journey Starts Here

Staying proactive in your hearing health is key to maintaining a better quality of life. And eating the right nutrients is only part of the puzzle.

Remember, hearing loss can occur gradually over time, so it's important to be proactive and get your hearing checked regularly.

Amplifon's network of hearing care providers can offer personalized solutions to fit your unique needs, budget, and lifestyle, so don't delay in getting the hearing care you deserve now and in the future!

Woman selecting healthy food at the store

Take the first step

Take the first step towards better hearing by checking your benefits with Amplifon Hearing Health Care. Once you send us your insurance information, our team will help you connect with a hearing care provider near you who can assess and recommend appropriate treatment options for managing tinnitus, hearing loss, and other hearing issues.

Members Blog

Find all about the latest news
Go to the blog

Rediscover the joy of sound

About Amplifon Hearing Health Care

Find out more

FREE virtual hearing screening

New innovation