For all of you ladies that love your coffee, this blog is for you!

Coffee seems to have a potential benefit in lowering women’s risk of getting tinnitus. Tinnitus is medically defined as a noise, or ringing in the ear. It is not considered a disease, but a sign or symptom of something else going on. It can be associated with certain medications, and thus an evaluation as to potential causes needs to be done. As a Naturopathic Doctor, I also evaluate diet and lifestyle factors that can play into tinnitus. I often suggest that my patients limit, or decrease, their caffeine intake when we are talking about tinnitus, but after this most recent study I might have to adjust my advice.

Dr. Gary Curham, of the Channing Division of Network Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, published a study in The American Journal of Medicine about Tinnitus and Caffeine (registration required unfortunately). The researchers looked at data on 65,000 women who are a part of the Nurses’ Health Study II. These women were between the ages of 20 to 40 in 1991 without a previous history of tinnitus.  In 2009, researchers found that 5,289 women reported having ringing, roaring, or buzzing in their ears a few days a week, or daily in the previous year.

As a part of the Nurses’ Health Study II, women answer questions, and tell about their diet, every 4 years. The researchers found that on average women consumed about 242 milligrams of caffeine per day, or about three 8-ounce cups of coffee. Dr. Curham and his team found that women with higher levels of caffeine intake are less at risk of developing tinnitus with a 15% lower risk in women who consumed 450-599mg/day (6-8 cups) when compared to women who drank less than 150mg/day (less than a half cup of coffee).

It does seem as though the true benefit of the coffee is the caffeine as the researchers did look at decaffeinated coffee and did not seem to find the same results. However, the article does not answer the questions of increasing caffeine in patients who already have tinnitus, and decreasing/stopping the tinnitus. This will have to be something that I consider with my patients who are dealing with tinnitus, and are also drinking coffee.

And, as always, if you have more questions about conditions related to tinnitus, and how I could possibly help you with that (or anything else), then please call me at (415) 912-9934, or email me, to setup a free consultation. If you are a current patient then just get in touch, and we’ll discuss it.

I hope everyone has had a good august.