New study findings have shown that higher caffeine intake is associated with a lower risk of tinnitus, although the underlying mechanism remains unknown. The study showed that intake of caffeine, in the form of coffee, tea, sodas, candy and chocolate, was on the contrary, associated with a lower risk of incident self-reported tinnitus.
Caffeine has long been thought to play a role in the development of tinnitus, but no pertinent clinical data are available. On the basis of data from the Nurses’ Health Study II, a team of researchers from Ontario, Canada and Massachusetts, USA, compared caffeine intake levels and the incidence of tinnitus. Study participants included 65,085 women in the survey, aged 30 to 44 years and who did not have tinnitus at baseline in 1991. Participants completed questionnaires about lifestyle and medical history every two years and food questionnaires every four years.
Information on self-reported tinnitus and date of onset was obtained from the 2009 questionnaire, with cases defined as those reporting experiencing symptoms “a few days/week” or “daily.” Multivariable adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) were calculated using Cox proportional hazards regression models.
“We can’t conclude that caffeine is a cure for tinnitus,” says the lead author, Dr Jordan T. Glicksman. “But our results should provide some assurance to people who do drink caffeine that it’s reasonable to continue doing so.”