The surprising connection between coffee and temporary noise-induced hearing loss

Stand too close to fireworks, subway trains or rock concerts and you’ll exceed the level we can sustain before risking hearing loss: about 90 – 95 dB. And according to a new JAMA study, your chances of recovering from temporarily impaired hearing are reduced by caffeine.

 

It is commonly known that exposing the ear to loud noises can result in temporary hearing reduction, which is usually reversible in the first 72 hours after exposure. In a recent study (albeit of Guinea pigs rather than humans), two groups of guinea pigs were exposed to loud music – one group had been given caffeine before the music started, the other group had not.  The non-caffeine group were the first to make a full hearing recovery.

 

The researchers concluded that drinking caffeine after being exposed to loud noises poses more of a risk than benefit when it comes to a person’s hearing, but admitted that further research is required.

 

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) found that around 15% of Americans aged 20-69 have hearing loss that may have been caused by exposure to loud noises. The good news is that this type of hearing loss can be prevented by reducing your exposure to loud noises, either by moving away from it or wearing earplugs.

 

We’d never tell you to stay away from a morning coffee – just stay away from loud noises while doing so!