Once caffeine lovers have developed hearing loss or tinnitus, they are often told to cut it out of their diet because there is a common belief that caffeine consumption can cause or aggravate ringing in the ears. That’s to say, they have to cut out coffee, chocolate, tea, cola and other caffeine containing foods in order to ease the symptoms. However, recently some researchers put forward their argument and some studies have demonstrated that reducing caffeine intake might actually make tinnitus worse.
In general, caffeine has no or little effect on ringing or buzzing in the ears. That’s to say, the symptom will be temporary if any. Similarly, certain medications, such as aspirin, antibiotics, and stimulants, can cause tinnitus too. The good news is that tinnitus caused by a side effect of certain medications tends to go away once the drug is discontinued.
Since there is no connection between the rate of tinnitus and intake of caffeine, the underlying health conditions should be blamed for if tinnitus tends to be more persistent and distressful. According to hearing experts, the most common cause is exposure to loud noises. Besides, other common causes also include earwax, ear infections, age-related hearing loss, acoustic neuroma, disease of the heart or blood vessels, stress, and more. Sometimes the symptoms can be so occasional and mild that the patients are not bothered. If it continues worsening, seeing a doctor is highly recommended.
As mentioned above, caffeine may not be a trigger for people with tinnitus. This conclusion was made by some studies, typified by the one conducted by a team from the University of Bristol in 2010. In other words, the researchers confirmed that no improvements have been found in tinnitus patients who took part in a 30-day trial, during which the 66 volunteers were requested to giving up caffeine. It is worth mentioning that ironically caffeine withdrawal seemed to intensify tinnitus instead. So, abruptly stopping using caffeine, however, is inadvisable for caffeine users with tinnitus.
Although caffeine may not make tinnitus symptoms more noticeable, it’s not a good idea to take in too much of it. Caffeine use may be safe for adults, it can pose problems too. So, people should curb their consumption below 500 mg a day, about five cups of coffee. Otherwise, a caffeine overdose can cause serious symptoms, such as convulsions, headache, vomiting, confusion, trouble breathing, irregular or fast heartbeat, erectile dysfunction (ED), and more.
However, so far there is no agreement about the relationship between caffeine consumption and tinnitus. If people have tinnitus that bothers them and it is suspected to have something to do with caffeine consumption, they can avoid it for a while to see what happen next. They can’t resume their intake until they make sure no change has been found in tinnitus levels. However, it is always a good idea to check with a doctor in any cases if the patients have recurring ringing in the ears. By the way, some herbal remedies, for example ginkgo biloba, can be a good try too.