Hearing and Energy Drinks


In our increasingly busy lives, we often look for ways stay alert and awake through long work days, socializing and family life. Drinks such as Red Bull, Monster and Rockstar are common ‘remedies’ to tiredness, with one of their main ingredients being caffeine. People likely consume energy drinks because these drinks claim to improve energy; as well as help with weight loss, increase endurance, and improve concentration.


Caffeine is a natural stimulant found in coffee, tea, chocolate and many energy drinks as well as some non-prescription cold and allergy medications, and pain relievers. It stimulates the central nervous system, improving circulation and focus, and keeps us from feeling tired after a late night out. Studies indicate caffeine may reduce the risk of certain cancers, as well as type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and stroke.

Consuming moderate amounts of caffeine is considered safe for adults. That means 100 mg to 200 mg of caffeine a day. There is about 95 mg of caffeine in 8 fl oz (237 mL) of brewed coffee.  A single energy drink can contain as much as 500 mg of caffeine.


Why is this a concern for your hearing?  Researchers at the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, Quebec have discovered that daily consumption of caffeine can prevent hearing from returning to normal after exposure to loud noise and resulting temporary threshold shift (TTS).  TTS is a decrease in hearing acuity accompanied by tinnitus.    


A study done in India (Effect of Red Bull energy drink on auditory reaction time and maximal voluntary contraction.  Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2014 Jan-Mar;58(1):17-21) investigated the effects of Red Bull energy drink on Auditory reaction time, and 1 other measure.  The energy and control drinks after one hour of consumption significantly reduced the Auditory reaction time (ART).


So, what should you take away from this? While I am not saying you should give up your daily cup of Joe, it is important to be mindful of your caffeine intake. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me using the comments below.


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