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Drinking More Coffee Could Cut Tinnitus Risk

Update Date: Aug 07, 2014 06:01 PM EDT

Drinking coffee could prevent tinnitus, according to a new study.

Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital found a link between higher caffeine intake and lower rates of tinnitus, a condition characterized by a ringing or bussing sound in the ear, in women.

The latest study involved more than 65,000 women in the Nurses' Health Study II. After analyzing self-reported data regarding the women's lifestyle and medical history between the ages of 30 and 44 years without tinnitus in 1991, researchers found that participants who had more caffeine intake were less likely to develop the disorder.

"We observed a significant inverse association between caffeine intake and the incidence of tinnitus among these women," senior author Gary Curhan, MD, ScD, a physician-researcher in the Channing Division of Network Medicine at BWH and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, said in a news release.

Researchers found that women who consumed less than 150 milligrams a day, which is around one and a half 8-ounce cups of coffee, are significantly more likely to report tinnitus compared to those wither higher daily caffeine intakes. The study revealed that rates of reported tinnitus was 15 percent lower among women who consumed 450 to 599 mg of caffeine per day.

Researchers noted that most of the caffeine consumed among the women was from coffee.

"The reason behind this observed association is unclear," said Curhan.

"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. Researchers note that further evidence is needed to make any recommendations about whether the addition of caffeine would improve tinnitus symptoms," said Curhan.

The findings are published in the American Journal of Medicine.

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