May 5, 2021

Tinnitus features according to caffeine consumption

R R Figuerido et al, 2021. Tinnitus features according to caffeine consumption, Prog Brain Research, Volume 262.


Introduction: Consumption of high amounts of caffeine has been historically associated with tinnitus worsening. However, recent studies demonstrated that this seems not to be true, and caffeine may even improve tinnitus distress.

Aim: To analyze tinnitus features according to caffeine consumption levels.

Study design: Case-control study.

Method: Tinnitus patients were compared with patients without tinnitus concerning caffeine consumption. Tinnitus characteristics were correlated to the amount of caffeine consumption among the tinnitus patients.

Results: One hundred and forty two patients with and 140 patients without tinnitus were enrolled. Patients without tinnitus consumed more caffeine than patients with tinnitus (300mL/day versus 100mL/day, P=0.0001). Among the patients with tinnitus, no differences concerning age, gender, tinnitus laterality, periodicity, quality, type of onset, tinnitus matching, hearing loss, THI scores and VAS (volume) according to the amount of caffeine consumed have been found. Concerning VAS (distress), the subgroup that consumed less than 150mL of caffeine daily had greater scores (6 versus 5, P=0.048).

Discussion: Data from this study are on line with more recent studies that were not able to demonstrate any kind of association between high consume of caffeine and tinnitus distress. Moreover, this study was not able to point any possible tinnitus subtype affected by high amounts of caffeine consumption. The higher VAS distress score in the low caffeine consumption subgroup may represent a protective effect of caffeine, which is also on line with other studies.

Conclusion: High amounts of caffeine consumption is not associated with tinnitus and with no tinnitus subgroup, according to tinnitus characteristics. An eventual protective effect of caffeine should be evaluated in further prospective studies.

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