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Could your sweet tooth be making your tinnitus worse?

Posted on Mar 16, 2017

Many of us will already know that too much sugar in our diet can potentially lead to a range of adverse health effects down the line, but could your sweet tooth also aggravate your tinnitus symptoms

Higher sugar intake, higher risk 

Diabetes, tooth decay, obesity… the health risks for a diet high in sugar are numerous. However, the link between blood sugar and tinnitus isn't quite as clear.

Tinnitus, a hearing condition whereby a person experiences internal ringing, humming or buzzing, is thought to affect 17-20 per cent of Australians according to the Victoria government's Better Health Channel1. For many tinnitus sufferers, the noise in their ears can fluctuate throughout the day, and can be aggravated by factors such as stress, certain medicines and pre-existing health conditions2.  

However, some people with tinnitus have reported that their condition appears to be alleviated somewhat by changing their diet, in particular reducing their sugar intake.

Could sugar intake be linked to tinnitus symptoms? Could sugar intake be linked to tinnitus symptoms?

What's the connection between blood sugar levels and tinnitus? 

The inner ear depends on a supply of glucose (sugar) and oxygen to function, so in theory, changes to our blood sugar could potentially have an effect on our inner ear.

This theory was examined in a study published in the International Tinnitus Journal, which examined the link between tinnitus and hyperinsulinemia – a condition where a person has elevated amounts of insulin in their bloodstream3

Patients who followed the diet were five times more likely to see an improvement in their tinnitus. 

The study looked at patients with hyperinsulinemia and tinnitus symptoms, examining what happened when one group followed a diet where they avoided refined sugar, and restricted their fat, coffee and alcohol intake for two years. 

The findings showed that those patients who followed the diet were five times more likely to experience an improvement in their tinnitus symptoms. Furthermore, 15 per cent of those who followed the diet found that their tinnitus was resolved, compared to none of the patients in the non-diet group3.

This discovery highlights the possibility of a link between tinnitus symptom intensity and dietary change, but there is still research to be done in this area.

Before you make any changes to your diet, be sure to consult your local HEARINGLife clinic. You can book your no cost* hearing check here, or give us a call on 1800 030 502.

1Better Health Channel, Tinnitus. Accessed March, 2017. 

2Mayo Clinic, Tinnitus. Accessed March, 2017. 

3International Tinnitus Journal (2004), Hyperinsulinemia and Tinnitus: A Historical Cohort. Accessed March, 2017. 

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