Tinnitus is the medical term for ringing in your ears. Caffeine may effect tinnitus, but in working with your doctor you may not have to give up your daily coffee.

It’s estimated that 10% to 25% of adults have tinnitus, which is often described as a ringing sound in one or both ears. While there are a variety of treatment options, eliminating caffeine is sometimes suggested as a way to reduce symptoms.

This article discusses whether adjusting your caffeine consumption can help with tinnitus, what the research says about caffeine, and what’s the best tinnitus treatment for you.

There are a number of causes for tinnitus, including hearing loss, medications, and head or neck injuries. Often, there is no clear-cut reason for tinnitus.

In the past, research has studied caffeine’s effects on tinnitus. Researchers thought that caffeine could cause some people’s tinnitus, as consumption can enhance the release of glutamate and increase nerve activity.

Caffeine does affect the body, and excessive amounts can have a negative impact on bodily functions. However, a 2021 review of 142 studies didn’t find a clear association between tinnitus and caffeine or coffee intake.

People who love coffee and chocolate may be happy to know that not only is there no connection between caffeine intake and tinnitus, but there is some evidence that consuming caffeine may reduce the risk of developing tinnitus.

Your experience with cutting out caffeine will likely differ from someone else’s.

Depending on the cause of your tinnitus, eliminating caffeine may help prevent symptoms from getting worse. However, recent studies have also found that caffeine may actually improve tinnitus discomfort for some individuals.

That said, in a 2015 study, nearly 6% of individuals with tinnitus reported that caffeine made their tinnitus worse.

Research suggests that caffeine withdrawals can lead to distress from headaches, fatigue, and mood disorders though. So, it’s important to consider many factors when determining what will improve your symptoms or make you more comfortable.

Research from 2014 shows that there is no connection between decaf coffee and tinnitus.

The research suggests that caffeine, rather than another component of coffee, is what’s linked to a decrease in tinnitus.

When your anxiety and stress levels go up, you may find that your tinnitus gets louder or more intense.

Other things that can make tinnitus worse include:

  • exposure to loud noises
  • allergies and infections
  • high or low blood pressure
  • sleep difficulties
  • migraine
  • alcohol consumption

It’s important to keep in mind that everyone’s experience with tinnitus is different, though.

For example, while some people find that quiet places are beneficial for reducing symptoms, others find that they can make tinnitus worse.

A 2015 study showed that 48% of people in a clinical trial experienced worse tinnitus in quiet places, compared with only 7.4% who saw their symptoms improve.

Consuming higher amounts of fat and starch may lead to a higher risk of tinnitus.

Higher intakes of calcium and iron have also been associated with an increased risk of tinnitus.

On the other hand, research also shows that consuming higher amounts of vitamin B12 and having a diet high in protein may reduce one’s risk.

Treatment options for tinnitus may include sound-based therapies, such as:

Other options for treating tinnitus include:

  • cognitive behavioral therapy
  • anti-anxiety or antidepressant medications
  • mindfulness-based stress reduction

If other conditions are causing your tinnitus, such as TMJ disorder, a doctor will work to create a treatment plan to address the underlying cause and improve your symptoms.

Although scientific evidence of their support is lacking, some people choose to use alternative therapies like acupuncture, hypnosis, or nutritional supplements to help treat tinnitus.

Before beginning alternative therapies, be sure to consult a doctor or your healthcare team to make sure they will not conflict with other therapies.

Tinnitus is a medical condition where people experience a ringing sound in their ears. It may be due to exposure to loud noises, injuries, or medications, but there is not conclusive evidence to prove that caffeine is a potential cause.

If you’re experiencing tinnitus, talk with your doctor. They can help determine if there is an underlying cause that needs to be addressed. Even if an exact cause can’t be identified, doctors can work with you to try to reduce the noise you hear. And you may not even have to give up your daily coffee.