Caffeine can be a serious tinnitus trigger. Try cutting it out for a week or two to see if this might be what’s aggravating that ringing in your ears.
Some patients who have completely cut-out, or at least drastically reduced the amount of coffee and caffeine they consume, have been able to completely eliminate their tinnitus.
This doesn’t mean that everyone with tinnitus shouldn’t have any caffeine.
But going on a 2-week trial to see if this method would help you is worth a shot.
We’ve put together this list of easy ways to cut down on your caffeine as well as a helpful guide for some healthy alternatives to coffee.
The Problem With Caffeine
Do you rely on caffeine to get you through the day?
If so, you’re not alone.
Almost 50% of Americans rely on some form of caffeine to get through the day.
However, it is a mind-altering substance that is just as addictive as illegal street drugs.
For some people, when caffeine becomes an addiction, it can cause mild to severe health issues such as:
- Digestive issues
- High blood pressure
- Damaged muscle fibers
- Risk of heart disease and stroke
How do you know when you have an addiction to caffeine?
You experience withdrawals when you cut it out.
The good news is withdrawals only last 2 to 9 days, depending on the amount of caffeine you usually have per day.
Here are some of the withdrawal symptoms you might get when you cut out caffeine:
- Low energy, fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating
- Flu-like symptoms
- Muscle aches
To help you deal with some of those withdrawal symptoms, below are ideas on how to painlessly switch to a caffeine-free diet to see how it affects your tinnitus.
1. Wean Yourself By Slowly Decreasing Your Daily Consumption
You can wean yourself bit by bit each day, rather than quitting cold turkey so that you can slowly adjust to the withdrawal symptoms.
Experts say that even if you consume large amounts of caffeine each day, lowering your consumption by even 2 – 3 oz per day can produce withdrawal symptoms.
There are several ways that you can taper down.
Start by eliminating your afternoon caffeinated beverage.
Or instead of having a large coffee, reach for the small one.
2. Water Down Your Drinks
It might take a bit of getting used to, but you can try reducing the number of coffee grounds that you use.
If you need a morning cup of joe to get the day started, for every teaspoon of ground coffee you usually use, cut down bit by bit till you can get to a 1/3 of a teaspoon.
3. Look Into Substitutes
If you are a heavy coffee drinker, there are lots of substitutes on the market that will simulate the effects of coffee without the caffeine.
Most of the substitutes contain grains and herbs that provide nutritional benefits.
There are drinks, pills or powders you can add to your food.
4. Try Decaffeinated Beverages
Avoid multiple cups of a caffeinated beverage by switching to decaffeinated soda or coffee.
If the extra cup of coffee is not needed, then skip it.
Worst case, ask for a decaf or half-caf version of your favorite drink.
5. Know What Foods And Medications Contain Caffeine
The common culprits are coffee, tea, soda, chocolate and energy drinks.
But caffeine is also an added ingredient in prescription and non-prescription medications.
You’ll find it in pain medications like Excedrin, or supplements, and even vitamins.
Check the ingredients of your medications and switch to a non-caffeinated version.
6. Prepare Yourself For Cutting Back
Like any other addiction, you need to prepare yourself for the cravings and withdrawals.
You need to mentally prepare yourself for cutting down on your intake.
Have a plan of action, and stick to your plan.
Keep track of the number of caffeinated beverages that you have throughout the day and begin replacing those drinks with water, fruit juice, or a decaffeinated drink.
7. Get Plenty Of Rest
One of the best ways to cut back on your caffeine intake is to make sure that you get enough quality sleep each night.
When your body is refreshed and rested, you won’t feel the need to reach for a caffeinated drink.
8. Take Supplements
Vitamins and supplements such as vitamin B and E are perfect ways to boost your energy levels and help curb the withdrawal symptoms.
Add lecithin to your morning breakfast to give you a relaxing added boost in the morning to get you going.
9. Make A Plan
This goes along with preparing yourself for when you cut back on your intake.
You need to devise a plan of action.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you going to quit cold turkey or wean yourself down?
- Do you have soup, juices and headache medication on hand?
- What will your morning beverage be if you cut down your intake?
- How often do you drink caffeinated beverages throughout the day?
- Is your plan to reduce your intake or eliminate caffeine?
10. Try Herbal Teas
If you are trying to live 100% without caffeine then you should switch to herbal teas rather than caffeinated tea.
Herbal teas can be just as satisfying as your morning cup of coffee.
Chamomile tea that is strong brewed will provide you with relief from caffeine withdrawal without feeling drowsy.
11. Follow A One-Week Detox Plan
A popular 7-day detox plan is said to kick your body in high gear to eliminate coffee from your daily life.
The plan looks like this:
Day 1: Your normal amount of coffee.
Day 2 to Day 5: Combine 50% of your regular coffee with 50% decaf for the next 3 days.
Day 6: Switch to 25% regular coffee and 75% decaf.
Day 7: From this day forward drink 100% decaf.
If you usually drink more than one cup of coffee per day, the plan suggests adding a week for each additional cup of coffee you drink each day.
So, you would tweak this into a 2-week detox for 2 cups of coffee, and so on.
12. Think Of The Benefits Of Giving Up Caffeine
There are many benefits to eliminating or cutting back on your intake of caffeine.
Here are some things you should think about:
- Better sleep – which is always needed when dealing with tinnitus
- Save your teeth from erosion
- More balanced hormones
- Less anxiety
- Lower blood pressure
- You will age better
13. Change The Type Of Roast Of The Coffee Beans That You Use
If you normally drink light or medium roast switch to a dark roast.
The darker the roast the lower the amount of caffeine in your cup of coffee.
Or try mixing it up, using decaf and caffeinated coffee grounds for your morning coffee.
14. Try Substituting A Productive Activity For Your Morning Cup Of Joe
If you normally need a pick me up in the morning or afternoon try doing things like:
- Crossword puzzle
Any type of physical activity to keep your mind off of your caffeine craving.
This will help you avoid substituting one caffeinated beverage for another.
Quitting or cutting down caffeine doesn’t have to be a difficult process.
You can start slowly and ease yourself out of it to see how it affects your tinnitus.
Even if the buzzing in your ears isn’t 100% improved with the lower coffee intake, as a side-effect it might help your sleep quality, which can be a big issue with tinnitus.
If you’re having trouble with sleeping, we have some sleep tips specifically for tinnitus sufferers like you.