Tag: balance

hearing and balance

Q&A: Does Caffeine Affect Hearing and Balance?

Q&A: Does Caffeine Affect Hearing and Balance?

Q: Is caffeine harmful?

A: This is one of the most loaded questions about everyday health. Many studies have been conducted on the effects of caffeine on the body. Some of these effects are positive and some are negative. Some studies suggest a correlation between moderate caffeine consumption and lower risks of some diseases, while others have shown the opposite. Different lifestyle and genetic factors determine whether caffeine is a healthful substance for you personally, so always check in with your physician before making decisions about which drugs to ingest and how much to use. Caffeine can also interact with certain medications and supplements, so it’s always a good idea to discuss your intake with a doctor if you have questions or concerns.


Q: How does caffeine impact hearing?

A: Frustratingly, the jury is still out on this, but here’s what we know so far:

One animal model study demonstrated that caffeine may impair the body’s ability to recover from acoustic trauma. Typically, the effects of acoustic trauma are temporary and resolve days or weeks after exposure, but test subjects given daily doses of caffeine and subsequently exposed to loud noise recovered their hearing more slowly than those without caffeine. These findings are important to consider, because if the same results are observed in humans, it could change how we approach hearing safety in a variety of environments.

Another study using data from the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey discovered that tinnitus was less prevalent in daily coffee drinkers in the 19–39 and 40–64 age groups than in their peers who rarely drink coffee. It also suggested that brewed coffee may have preventative effects on hearing loss and tinnitus, but that other coffee preparations may induce tinnitus in some age groups.

A UK study found that coffee consumption is associated with a lower risk of disabling hearing loss in men. It is thought that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of coffee are responsible, rather than caffeine content, since the result held true for both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffees. Interestingly, female coffee drinkers did not receive the same benefit.


Q: Does caffeine affect balance?

A: Possibly. According to a study from 2021, consumption of caffeinated beverages may enhance postural stability and voluntary motor control. Because caffeine is a stimulant, it increases attention, which can have an effect on a person’s balance. We’re not yet sure if caffeine affects the vestibular system directly, or if caffeine’s effect on the central nervous system is responsible for observed improvements in the posture and balance of the test subjects. More research is needed to understand these results.

If you’re experiencing hearing loss, tinnitus, or balance problems, please don’t wait. Contact us today to get your questions answered or to schedule an exam. We’re HEAR to help!

Q&A: Is My Dizziness Normal?

Q&A: Is My Dizziness Normal?

Q: Why am I dizzy?

Q&A: Is My Dizziness Normal? A: We receive this question often. Dizziness is a very common symptom that can spontaneously occur and resolve without any underlying conditions. When there is an underlying condition, it can be as simple as hunger or as serious as a stroke. This is why looking up your symptoms online can lead to a heap of unnecessary anxiety! Luckily, there are some additional symptoms to watch for when determining what’s really going on. These are the most common causes of dizziness:

Vestibular Disorders

According to Johns Hopkins, 85% of dizziness and vertigo episodes are caused by physiological dysfunction within the inner ear. This typically occurs because there has been an unexpected shift in the fluid of the semicircular canals above the cochlea, making you feel off-balance or as if you’re in motion. One major clue that you’re dealing with a vestibular disorder is if your dizziness is accompanied by hearing loss or ringing in the ears. Fortunately, these disorders are highly treatable. Audiologists and ENTs can run a battery of tests to determine the exact cause of your dizziness and provide an effective treatment plan, so don’t hesitate to get it checked out.


Whether you’re taking medications to lower your blood sugar or simply haven’t eaten for a while, a dip in glucose can make you feel surprisingly weak and lightheaded. Hypoglycemia is defined as any blood sugar reading under 70 mg/dl, but many people experience dizziness at levels above that, depending on how their bodies respond to hunger. If your dizziness resolves after having a snack, that’s a good indication that you were low on energy and needed a boost. Patients living with diabetes should pay special attention to their dizziness, as medication adjustments may be needed.


Similar to the previous item on this list, dizziness is one of the top symptoms of low blood pressure. This too can be caused by medication, though dehydration is the likelier culprit. When the body loses too many fluids, blood volume decreases, leading to hypotension. Many people also experience a drop in blood pressure after suddenly changing positions or spending long periods of time on their feet. This condition is known as orthostatic hypotension and is usually mild. Replenishing your fluids and resting in a comfortable position should help.


A keyed-up nervous system can cause pretty severe dizziness and disorientation. It’s even possible to experience fainting spells during an anxiety attack. This may happen because of a frightening event, post-traumatic stress, or an accidental triggering of the body’s fight-or-flight response. Rest assured that many, many people live with chronic anxiety. However, if you suspect your dizziness is the result of emotional distress, it’s important to rule out other causes first. Be sure to discuss testing and treatment options with your physician.

Q: When should I tell a doctor about my dizziness?

A: As soon as you feel it’s more than a passing annoyance. While dizziness is one of the most common patient complaints and is usually nothing to worry about, it can lead to falls. The older you are, the more dangerous falls become, so take dizziness seriously if it occurs often or disrupts your daily life. The bottom line is: You know your body better than anyone else. When in doubt, seeking a professional opinion is never a bad idea. Always get immediate medical attention if your dizziness is severe or accompanied by any of these signs of a stroke or heart attack:

  • Blurred vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Impaired mobility
  • Sudden confusion
  • Loss of consciousness

Did You Know?

• Dizziness is the third most common complaint (after headaches and lower back pain) in all age groups.
• Dizziness is the number-one complaint from people who are 70 and older.
• 85% of dizziness & vertigo is caused by inner-ear dysfunction.
• 25% of migraine sufferers report vertigo as a symptom.
• Most patients visit 4 to 5 physicians before a correct diagnosis is made.
• Falls are the leading cause of death for people who are 65 and older.

If you’re suffering from dizziness or think you may be experiencing a vestibular disorder, please don’t wait. Contact us today to get your questions answered or to schedule an exam. We’re HEAR to help!

5 Tips to Protect Against Falls

They’re typically unexpected and can happen anytime. They sometimes end with a giggle but often are far more serious. They’re falls, and preventing them can help preserve your health and quality of life. So don’t miss this: We’ve got five simple tips for avoiding hazardous slips!

According to research, falls are more common among people with hearing loss. In one study, patients with mild hearing loss were nearly three times as likely to report a fall in the previous year. Plus, every 10-decibel increase in hearing loss also meant a 1.4-fold increase in the odds of a fall the prior year.

The findings, from researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the National Institute on Aging, were consistent with past research linking hearing loss and increased risk of falling.

Falls are the second leading cause of accidental death, per the World Health Organization, and they can result in other serious injury or disability. They’re also associated with hearing impairment, which can affect your balance.

Reduce your risk with these five tips:

  1. Get your vision checked, making sure you’re seeing your best.
  2. Be sure to understand how any medications may affect you, including your balance.
  3. Check your surroundings for hazards such as uneven surfaces, slippery floors, small rugs, or unstable handrails.
  4. Help ensure your loved ones and those with disabilities have a safe environment adapted to their physical needs.
  5. Keep your hearing in top shape, starting with hearing exams once a year and whenever you’re having trouble understanding — especially if you’re having difficulty while dining out, watching TV, or talking on the phone.


  • An estimated 646,000 individuals each year die from falls.
  • Nearly all hip fractures — over 95% — are attributable to falls.
  • Over 37 million nonfatal falls each year are severe enough to require medical attention.
  • Balance disorders are big contributors to falls among seniors, who suffer the most fall-related fatalities.

Falls can get in the way of your overall wellness and sense of independence. If you’re experiencing balance issues, dizziness, or falls or are having trouble hearing, please don’t wait. Schedule an appointment with our hearing care professionals today.