Higher caffeine intake 'reduces risk of tinnitus'

8 August 2014

Women with a higher intake of caffeine have a lower incidence of unexplained ear ringing, according to a new study.

Research from Brigham and Women's Hospital, published in the August issue of the American Journal of Medicine, found that that higher caffeine intake is associated with lower rates of tinnitus in younger and middle-aged women.

The study followed more than 65,000 women in the Nurses' Health Study II, and tracked self-reported results regarding lifestyle and medical history from these women, with researchers identifying 5,289 cases of reported incidents of tinnitus after 18 years of follow-up.

"We observed a significant inverse association between caffeine intake and the incidence of tinnitus among these women," explained Dr Gary Curhan, senior author of the paper and a physician-researcher in the Channing Division of Network Medicine at BWH and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Although the reason behind the observed association is unclear, Dr Curhan noted that caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, with previous research demonstrating that caffeine has a direct effect on the inner ear in both bench science and animal studies.

Researchers say that further evidence is needed to make any recommendations about whether the addition of caffeine would improve tinnitus symptoms.

Posted by Jeanette Royston​

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