In the past, it was believed that people with tinnitus should give up caffeinated beverages in fear that it made the symptoms increase. New research shows otherwise. According to new research from Brigham and Women’s hospital in Boston, drinking coffee may prevent tinnitus, or chronic ringing of the ears.
The study was published in the August edition of the American Journal of Medicine, and tracked 65,000 women over a period of 18 years and found that those who drank more coffee reduced their odds of developing the condition.
The study found that women who drank one and a half cups of coffee every day were 15 percent more likely to develop tinnitus in comparison to woman who drank 450 to 599 milligrams a day, which is about five cups.
Researchers are still unclear as to exactly how increased caffeine levels affect the condition.
Dr. Gary Curhan says: “We know that caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, and previous research has demonstrated that caffeine has a direct effect on the inner ear in both bench science and animal studies.” He also adds: “Researchers note that further evidence is needed to make any recommendations about whether the addition of caffeine would improve tinnitus symptoms.”
The Mayo Clinic says drinking 4 or more cups of coffee a day causes insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, upset stomach, fast heartbeat, and muscle tremors.
“The negative effects of caffeine are often not recognized as such because it is a socially acceptable and widely consumed drug that is well integrated into our customs and routines,” said Laura Juliano, study co-author and professor at American University, in the release. “And while many people can consume caffeine without harm, for some, it produces negative effects, physical dependence, interferes with daily functioning, and can be difficult to give up, which are signs of problematic use.”
Tinnitus affects approximately 10 percent of all adults in the United State every year. It is a condition characterized by buzzing or hissing in the ear and usually develops over a long period of time.
A common cause of tinnitus is inner ear cell damage. Tiny, delicate hairs in your inner ear move in relation to the pressure of sound waves. This triggers ear cells to release an electrical signal through a nerve from your ear (auditory nerve) to your brain. Your brain interprets these signals as sound. If the hairs inside your inner ear are bent or broken, they can “leak” random electrical impulses to your brain, causing tinnitus.
Other causes of tinnitus include other ear problems, chronic health conditions, and injuries or conditions that affect the nerves in your ear or the hearing center in your brain.