Caffeine is a part of everyday life for most Americans today. Adults consume it in the form of coffee/ tea, chocolate, or energy drinks. Each person has an individual sensitivity to the substance.
Usually, the younger the person, the less substance is needed to feel the effect. At the same time, Americans who regularly consume caffeinated foods lose their sensitivity to this invigorating component over time. It means that they’ll need to increase the dosage to achieve the effect. How does caffeine affect our health and hearing? Let’s look at this issue together.
How much caffeine do we consume?
Caffeine is a white, bitter substance found in plants. The amount of caffeine in foods and drinks varies. For coffee and tea, the amount of caffeine per cup depends on the brand, the type of beans or leaves used, the method of preparation, and the brewing time.
Once released into the bloodstream, caffeine stimulates the central nervous system – nerves, brain, and spinal cord – to make you feel more alert. Caffeine reduces fatigue and improves concentration. In addition, it stimulates the production of dopamine. That is why everyone loves to have a cup of hot coffee in the morning so much!
According to statistics, the United States is in first place in coffee imports. More than 140 million Americans drink coffee daily, 18% of them prefer specialty coffee. Although we don’t consume coffee more than other countries (European countries in the first place), nevertheless, we shouldn’t deny its influence on our health.
How does caffeine affect hearing loss?
Audiology Island patients often ask this question. People often talk about the dangers of caffeine these days, which collectively lead Americans to think that caffeine can be the reason for their hearing problems.
Although that is probably not the case, it is worthwhile looking at this topic. Much has been said about vitamins and hearing loss. A healthy diet plays a very important role in the formation and maintenance of healthy functioning of the body, including hearing.
Having good health, a person minimizes the likelihood of any problems, including hearing loss. In addition, a healthy diet plays a very important role in the formation and maintenance of healthy body functioning. Thus, diet and hearing loss are closely related.
But the data on caffeine are very contradictory in terms of its beneficial and negative effects on the human body. There is no definitive scientific study today showing the relationship between hearing loss and caffeine. However, in some individual cases, we can determine it.
Caffeine and tinnitus
Have you ever noticed hearing loss after attending a noisy event or rock concert? Usually, after a few hours or days, the unusual sensation goes away and hearing is restored. This phenomenon is called temporary hearing loss after noise exposure. It is not dangerous and goes away on its own, however, with constant noise exposure, you must use special protective devices!
It turns out that tinnitus and caffeine are related. Thus, an increase in caffeine intake slows down hearing recovery after noise exposure. We advise you to refrain from drinking coffee for a while after the concert. After all, the more you drink it, the longer the temporary hearing loss will be.
In addition, people who suffer from tinnitus will notice that caffeine is a trigger and can increase the loudness of the noise in their ears/ head.
Caffeine and Meniere’s disease
Another case where you can think of caffeine is Meniere’s disease. It’s a hearing problem associated with an increase in the amount of fluid in the inner ear. Patients complain of frequent attacks with characteristic symptoms:
Doctors usually recommend switching to a healthier diet by eliminating caffeine, alcohol, and salt to relieve symptoms. There is no research yet showing a direct link between Meniere’s disease and caffeine. However, patients note that it becomes easier for them to endure unpleasant symptoms by giving up some products.
Dr. Stella Fulman notes that caffeine constricts blood vessels, which leads to a decreased blood supply to the inner ear. This, in turn, leads to a worsening of the patient’s condition and an increase in the symptoms of Meniere’s disease. Therefore, it is not surprising why people feel better when they switch to healthier diets.
Caffeine and Cisplatin
Cisplatin is a medicine given to cancer patients during chemotherapy. The medicine has several side effects, including hearing loss and tinnitus. Recent research has shown that caffeine exacerbates cisplatin-induced hearing loss. Although the experiments were conducted on rats, the results showed that caffeine and Cisplatin do indeed affect hearing. Therefore, caffeinated products are contraindicated while taking Cisplatin.
What conclusions can we make?
To date, there is no research to support the negative effects of caffeine on hearing. There are only isolated cases in which doctors do not recommend the use of caffeinated products. Is caffeine completely safe? Of course not. We may not have learned yet how caffeine affects hearing loss. But if there is such a connection, sooner or later we will find out about it.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can safely drink several liters of coffee a day. Everything is good in moderation. Audiology Island recommends not exceeding 3-5 cups of coffee a day!
About Dr Stella Fulman
Dr. Stella Fulman, AU.D., CCC-A received her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Audiology from Brooklyn College in 2004 and her Doctorate of Audiology from Salus University in 2008. [ Learn More ]