Ringing in the ears or tinnitus may be uncommon but if you hear voices despite any external source of sound, you should probably increase your intake of coffee and tea. According to a new research published in American Journal of Medicine, women who drank a lot of tea and coffee had reduced rates of ear ringing. The study therefore suggests that higher caffeine intake may be linked to lowered tinnitus rates in younger and middle-aged women.
The study included more than 65,000 women aged between 30 and 44 years, where researchers tracked and medical history from these women. After 18 years of follow up, they identified 5,289 cases of reported incident tinnitus. ‘We observed a significant inverse association between caffeine intake and the incidence of tinnitus among these women,’ said Gary Curhan, a physician-researcher at the Channing Division of Network Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) in Boston, Massachusetts.
Researchers also found that compared to women who had caffeine intake less than 150 milligrams/day (one and a half 8-ounce cups of coffee), the rate of tinnitus was 15 percent lower among women who consumed 450 to 599 mg/day of caffeine. The majority of caffeine consumed among the women was from coffee and the results did not vary by age. ‘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,’ Curhan noted.
Researchers note that further evidence is needed to make any recommendations about whether the addition of caffeine would improve tinnitus symptoms.
What causes the tinnitus?
Tinnitus can actually be caused any number of reasons ranging from noise induced hearing loss to nerve disorders to side effects of certain medications. Here we describe the most common causes of tinnitus.
1. Exposure to loud noise
One of the most common reasons you may hear ringing in your ears or head is when you are exposed to loud noise over extended periods of time. For example, it more commonly hits people who work in noisy environments, or listen to constant loud music, or maybe are frequent clubbers.
Age related hearing loss is called presbycusis. This is an irreversible condition since the damage is caused by degeneration of sensory cells which occurs with age.
Otosclerosis is a condition in which there is an abnormal bone growth in the middle ear that causes hearing loss.
Otitis is the infection or inflammation of the inner or outer parts of the ear. It can occur suddenly and for a short time which is then called acute otitis or it can occur repeatedly over long periods of time which is called chronic otitis. Otitis media is a middle ear infection and usually occurs in children along with cold and flu. (Read: 12 reasons you might be suffering from tinnitus or ringing in your ear)