Images shows coffee cups

Coffee and tinnitus

Contributed by James Pocock

11/07/2022 00:00:00 • 3 min read

If you’re a coffee lover and have ever wondered what effect caffeine has on your hearing health, get ready to treat yourself to your favourite brew this morning. Research shows that caffeine from coffee – or tea – may be linked to a lower risk of tinnitus in women and to living longer in healthy adults. So if you ever needed an excuse to drink more coffee, read on.

Research reveals good news for coffee and tea drinkers

According to the American Journal of Medicine1, in a study of more than 65,000 women, caffeine has positive links to your hearing health. Specifically, over a period of 18 years, women who had higher intakes of caffeine showed a lower incidence of tinnitus. In fact, those who drank less than 150 mg (approximately a cup of coffee) a day showed higher rates of tinnitus.

Why is this important?

Tinnitus – a ringing in the ears, buzzing or similar noise that people hear without it coming from an external source – can be debilitating. For some, it can be a chronic condition. Some people develop tinnitus following a trauma or exposure to excessive noise. But for many others the cause is unknown, so preventative measures are important.

Too much of a good thing?

But how much caffeine is too much? The study showed that the women who consumed 450 milligrams to 599 milligrams of caffeine daily were 15% less likely to experience tinnitus. Those who consumed more than 600 milligrams were 21% less likely to develop tinnitus. To put it into perspective, to meet the 450–599 mg category, a person would have to consume about four cups of coffee.

Good for your ears – and your heart!

Benefits for coffee lovers do not end with a decreased incidence of tinnitus. At a recent meeting of the European Society of Cardiology2, Spanish researchers presented the results of a 10-year study of nearly 20,000 people called the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra (SUN) Project.

The results showed that healthy people who consumed a Mediterranean diet and drank more coffee lived longer. Dr. Adela Navarro, a cardiologist at Hospital de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, said, “In the SUN project we found an inverse association between drinking coffee and the risk of all-cause mortality, particularly in people aged 45 years and above. This may be due to a stronger protective association among older participants.”

So how much coffee do you need to drink to reap these benefits? Dr. Navarro said, “Our findings suggest that drinking four cups of coffee each day can be part of a healthy diet in healthy people.”

If you have concerns about tinnitus, hearing loss or your hearing health in general, you can make an appointment to speak with one of our hearing care experts.