In the 2007 film "Noise," Aussie constable Graham McGahan battles Melbourne's bad guys - and his own deafening case of tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Luckily, when the din from a car horn cancels out the racket in his head, he hears his nemesis sneaking up on him.
It may seem unlikely that loud honking really could nullify internal humming caused by nerve activation in the inner ear and brain, allowing him to hear faint sounds.
But you know what? It could have happened. Tinnitus sufferers often use white noise machines to cancel out the internal din and help them get to sleep.
Tinnitus can result from damage to sound-transmitting hairs in your inner ear. Or it may be from muscular or nerve problems associated with a neck injury, TMJ, circulatory problems, medications or age-related hearing loss.
Tinnitus affects about 14 percent of people age 60-69.
Treatments usually focus on trying to stop the racket or, if that doesn't work, calming your reaction to it.
But the latest good news? A caffeine study found that drinking three to four 8-ounce cups of coffee daily (450-600 mg of caffeine) reduced the incidence of tinnitus by 15 percent.
Seems caffeine does more than decrease your risk for nine cancers and help you dodge age-related cognitive problems!
It's possible that caffeine stimulates your central nervous system and alters the nerves that are jangling in your inner ear and brain. Just be aware of other sources of caffeine in your diet, and have your last dose at least four hours before turning in.
© 2014 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
© King Features Syndicate