Coffee may help prevent Tinnitus, a ringing sound in your ears: Study

Aug 11, 2014 12:48 AM EDT | By Staff Reporter

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Coffee drinkers have another reason to reason and drink up. A new study found that coffee may be good for your ears.

A recent study published in the American Journal of Medicine shows that increasing caffeine intake can positively affect the symptoms of tinnitus-an incessant buzzing or ringing in the inner ear.  While the condition is not painful it can be an annoyance, which affects mood and productivity.

Researchers found that women who consumed higher amounts of caffeine were less likely to have tinnitus, which is a steady ringing or buzzing in the ear.

Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) in Boston followed more than 65,000 healthy women, ages 30 to 44, over the course of 18 years, and found that the more caffeine was consumed, the less tinnitus was diagnosed.

The study found that women 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.

"The reason behind this observed association is unclear," said Dr. Gary Curhan, study co-author and a physician-researcher in the Channing Division of Network Medicine at BWH, in a press release.

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.

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

"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." 

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