Waking up to a fresh, hot cup of coffee is one of life’s great pleasures. In addition to helping you feel more awake and alert, many have linked the delicious elixir with an increased risk of hearing loss and tinnitus. But is there any truth to these rumors?
Caffeine is a stimulant that activates your central nervous system.
When your central nervous system is stimulated, your circulation and focus may improve. This stimulant is naturally found in coffee, tea, chocolate and many popular energy drinks. Non-prescription allergy and cold medication as well as pain relievers also include caffeine.
Can Caffeine Cause Hearing Loss?
There is no definitive research that links normal caffeine intake, which experts definite as about two cups of coffee per day, with an increased risk of hearing loss. This is surprising, as caffeine can alter blood pressure and restrict blood vessels, which are important to healthy hearing.
One Korean study published in 2018 found that there was no connection between hearing loss and coffee. Even more surprising is that they found the participants who drank coffee had a lower risk of hearing loss than their non-java-drinking counterparts.
Can Caffeine Cause Tinnitus?
When searching for ways to reduce tinnitus symptoms, limiting your caffeine intake often makes the list. While there is no research linking caffeine with an increase in tinnitus symptoms, experts agree that it is fine to cut back if you think it is useful.
However, cutting caffeine out of your diet cold turkey may be detrimental. An older study conducted in 2009 found that caffeine abstinence is an ineffective and potentially distressing form of tinnitus therapy.
Can Caffeine Worsen Meniere’s Disease?
Diet changes are a common treatment option given to those with Meniere’s disease. This inner ear disorder can cause episodes of vertigo, hearing loss and tinnitus. While experts advise patients to cut back on alcohol, salt and caffeine, there is no research that links these potential triggers with an increase in symptoms.
Additional research is needed to draw any conclusions between stopping for a cup of coffee at Brew Ha Ha or your favorite local café and an increased risk of hearing loss or tinnitus.
To learn more about well-studied hearing loss causes or to schedule an appointment with a hearing professional, contact Wilmington Audiology today.