The Tinnitus Specialist Blog
Thoughts and inspiration from a Harley Street tinnitus specialist.
Can caffeine make tinnitus worse? The answer might surprise you
What is the evidence?
While I am researching tinnitus resources on the internet, one piece of advice seems to be almost universal - avoiding caffeine can help relieve tinnitus symptoms - sometimes it is expressed the other way round, i.e. caffeine can make tinnitus worse. However, what evidence is there to back up this advice? Indeed, do these people have any evidence to support what they're saying?
Truth is stranger than fiction
The truth may come as a surprise to you, but don't just take my word for it. I always try to be careful that any advice I give, or any treatment that I recommend, has good evidence to back it up. If the evidence isn't strong, or if I am giving my own opinion based on experience treating tinnitus patients, I will say so. However, the evidence on whether caffeine make tinnitus worse or not is now clear, thanks to Dr Lindsay St. Claire of the University of Bristol's Centre for Hearing and Balance Studies. That's why I tell people that they can carry on drinking tea and coffee, even though they have tinnitus. In fact, it looks like caffeine withdrawal is far worse for tinnitus than drinking moderate amounts of tea and coffee! You can read about a Dr St. Claire's research study here.
Don't trust any Tom, Dick or Harry with your ears
My advice to you is to be careful who you trust with your ears. If they are offering outdated advice, or if they are recommending treatments that don't yet have good, University-led research evidence, then go somewhere else!