Can Your Daily Dose of Caffeine Lead to Hearing Loss?
After reading the title of this post you may be ready to sound the alarm. The very idea that your morning caffeine laden coffee could somehow reduce your hearing capacity may be of epic concern to many of you.
However, before you sound the proverbial alarm, the jury is still out on the effects caffeine could have on humans. Researchers at the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal studied the recovery of guinea pigs after exposure to loud noise and caffeine.
How did researchers measure the effects of caffeine on hearing?
To get the findings that were recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the research team took guinea pigs and separated them into three groups. One set of guinea pigs was given caffeine. Another group was exposed to about 110 decibels of noise for one hour, which is about the same noise level you would be exposed to at a concert. While, the third group was exposed to loud noise, in addition to caffeine.
Keep in mind that exposure to sounds over 85 decibels for a prolonged period of time may result in hearing loss.
What were the findings on how caffeine affects your hearing?
After 8 days the research team found that only the group of guinea pigs exposed to acoustic overstimulation was able to recover.
Dr. Faisal Zawawi, an Otolaryngologist, noted that “when the ear is exposed to loud noise, it can suffer from a temporary hearing reduction, also called auditory temporary threshold shift…This disorder is usually reversible in the first 72 hours after the exposure, but if symptoms persist, the damage could become permanent.”
Dr. Zawawi and his colleagues think their findings are confirmation that consuming caffeine after being exposed to loud noise results in an increased risk than benefit to your hearing. In the case of the guinea pigs, acoustic overstimulation seems to have had a negative effect on the recovery of their hearing.
How to prevent noise-induced hearing loss?
The next step for the research team is studying the effects of caffeine on humans. So, for now, you can still enjoy your daily coffee fix.
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) notes that noise-induced hearing loss is the only type of hearing loss that’s preventable. Wearing ear plugs, other types of protective devices, keeping your distance from the source of loud sounds and limiting the amount of time you’re exposed to loud noise are simple ways you can prevent hearing loss.
If you’re concerned about your hearing after being exposed to loud sounds, see your local Audiologist or Hearing Instrument Specialist for a hearing test.