Introduction

It’s one of those questions isn’t it, does coffee affect my tinnitus? If you look around online you’ll see varying reports and responses which in some cases contradict each other. So I guess all I can give you is my opinion as based on research that I’ve conducted.

I felt that personally speaking that it doesn’t have any effect on me. My dad who has chronic tinnitus (with hearing loss) also doesn’t seem to have any negative reaction to caffeine (as he takes tea over coffee) but I guess this doesn’t count as any level of accurate research in that in his case, he hasn’t really looked at or tried to see if it changed things if he didn’t take it.

The poll and survey that I conducted is not scientific and is not intended as such but i wanted it to be an initial look at some field research that I could carry out. Of course, as I said before, there are many types of tinnitus that has come from a variety of sources and so obviously this does skew the accuracy.

The wildness of what’s out there

As a matter of interest (the mail online is not a scientific paper – I know!!) here are 2 articles from the same source both of which contradict each other in the area of the effect that coffee has on tinnitus.
Firstly here’s an article on how if you cut back on coffee that you will reduce tinnitus; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-537648/Tinnitus-cured-cutting-coffee-researchers-say.html

Secondly, here’s an article from the same source that says that coffee can have a protective effect against tinnitus and ringing in the ears http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2581416/Coffee-cut-risk-getting-tinnitus-Caffeine-protective-effect-against-constant-ringing-ears.html

My research

I decided that along with what was already written, that I would conduct my own research as best I could on a popular tinnitus facebook page called; tinnitus sufferers (if you want to look into it, it’s a great resource, check it out here; http://bit.ly/2itP9LX )
Here is my question and my results;

results on poll to see if caffeine affects tinnitus

Results from poll conducted

If we look specifically at the yes and no results, we see an overwhelming swing in favour of coffee not affecting tinnitus. This is interesting, It is almost 10 times more apparent that it doesn’t have any effect. So from real sufferers it’s interesting to see that coffee isn’t affecting them. I am assuming that the way that they have arrived at this conclusion is that they have taken some measurement taking coffee and some measurements taken without.

The number of ‘I don’t knows’ is also interesting and holds the real value. From the full cohort of 121 respondents 39% were undecided. Further research into this cohort would be interesting to see if coffee or caffeine levels were increased or reduced would it make a difference. This would of course give more accuracy to the study if measured over time and of course if you are in this cohort, you could take 2 comparable periods of time like a month on and off coffee to really see.

Science

Research from deafness research UK and referenced to in a good article on www.tinnitus.org.uk found the following;
Caffeine
People with tinnitus are frequently told to avoid caffeine containing drinks such as coffee and tea. There is no scientific rationale for this advice. A properly conducted scientific study showed that caffeine was not associated with tinnitus causation. Moreover, the researchers found that withdrawing someone from their usual intake of caffeine did produce side effects, particularly headaches and nausea, and this could potentially worsen pre-existing tinnitus. The sensible advice regarding tea or coffee drinking therefore seems to be to stay on a fairly constant intake and not vary this too much from day to day. Courtesy https://www.tinnitus.org.uk/food-drink-and-tinnitus
This is in agreement with the research that I conducted. Again, another forum that I like to reference also shows that most sufferers don’t seem to experience aggravation if they consume caffeine.

Conclusion

Where it’s limited, my research seems to lie in tandem with what a lot of sufferers seem to experience and that is that caffeine/coffee doesn’t affect tinnitus but of course tinnitus is so varied and broad that of course this cannot be generalised. I’d be interested in your thoughts.

Ciaran

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