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I am the only person in my family who does not wake up and begin my day with a cup of coffee. I personally just don’t like the taste, but I am in the minority here; the majority of people I know are avid coffee drinkers, and they will take just about any reason out there to drink more of it. We’ve told you about the way that caffeine benefits Alzheimer’s prevention, and now we have even more good news. Drinking coffee might help lower your chances of getting tinnitus, as well.
What is Tinnitus?
Have you ever experienced ringing in your ears, or other noises that have no real external origin from your environment? Sounds like these can be an occasional bother for many people, but some people deal with these annoying noises on a consistent basis, and it can become quite a problem. This condition is called tinnitus, the medical name for when sound is heard that has no external source, such as ringing in the ears. Noises in the ear may include ringing, buzzing, hissing, clicking or more, and can vary in volume, pitch, and frequency. Tinnitus is more prevalent with age; only 16% of middle-aged adults have it, but this number increases to 30% in adults over age 75. 
Tinnitus can be a symptom of another condition, such as injury to the ear, and often is associated with age-related hearing loss. In most cases, the underlying cause is unknown, so treatment can be difficult. Loud noises, stress, and nicotine may all make it worse. Studies also show that one risk factor might be diet.
Studies Show Connection Between Caffeine Intake and Tinnitus
Studies have looked at a variety of dietary factors that may influence tinnitus symptoms. In the past, it was believed that coffee may make tinnitus worse, but recent research shows that it is likely that caffeine benefits the condition instead.
One study in the journal American Journal of Medicine looked at data from 65,085 women and found that there was an inverse association between coffee intake and the incidence of tinnitus. What’s more, the authors found that decaf coffee had no such association; it was the caffeine in the coffee that seemed to have an effect. Another study on 171,722 male and female participants found that drinking caffeinated coffee was associated with lower prevalence of tinnitus; in fact, the more cups of coffee people drank per day, the less likely they were to report tinnitus.
Possible Reasons Why Caffeine Benefits Tinnitus
Researchers aren’t clear why, exactly, there is an association between caffeine and tinnitus. One possible mechanism for the cause of tinnitus is that there is hyperactivity of the auditory pathways in the brain and an underactive central nervous system response. As caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant, it may help to prevent the development of tinnitus. Laboratory studies also show that caffeine can directly influence the inner ear and can shorten outer hair cells in the ear.
While coffee can’t yet be considered a cure for tinnitus, the research suggests that those who drink coffee might want to keep doing so to keep their ears clear of bothersome noise. Another treatment to consider is vitamin D supplementation. Read more here.
Share Your Experience
Do you have tinnitus? What do you do to reduce your symptoms? Share your experience with tinnitus in the comments section below.
This article was originally published in 2015. It is regularly updated.