Zawawi F, Bezdjian A, Mujica-Mota M, Rappaport J, Daniel SJ. Association of
Caffeine and Hearing Recovery After Acoustic Overstimulation Events in a Guinea
Pig Model. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2016 Apr 1;142(4):383-8.
Noise-induced hearing loss is an increasingly worrisome problem. Although caffeine intake is common in people involved in noise-related environments, the effect of caffeine on the recovery of hearing after a temporary threshold shift requires further understanding.
To determine whether caffeine impairs hearing recovery in a guinea pig model exposed to acoustic overstimulation.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND SUBJECTS:
This experiment at the McGill University Auditory Sciences Laboratory used 24 female albino guinea pigs (age, 6 months; weight, 500-600 g) divided randomly into 3 groups of 8 animals each. Group 1 was exposed to caffeine; group 2, acoustic overstimulation events (AOSEs); and group 3, both. Data were collected from July 1, 2013, to March 30, 2014, and analyzed from April 1 to August 1, 2014.
Daily caffeine dose for groups 1 and 3 consisted of 25 mg/kg administered intraperitoneally for 15 days. The AOSEs were administered on days 1 and 8 and consisted of 1 hour of 110-dB pure-tone sound.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES:
Serial auditory brainstem response (ABR) tests to determine the audiological threshold shift and recovery were obtained at baseline and on days 1 (1 hour after the first AOSE), 4, 8 (before and 1 hour after the second AOSE), 11, and 15. Scanning electron and light microscopy of the cochleas were performed to determine morphologic changes.
The day 1 post-AOSE measurement resulted in a similar threshold shift in all animals in groups 2 and 3 at all frequencies tested (8, 16, 20, and 25 kHz). The maximum threshold shift was at 16 kHz, with a mean of 66.12 dB. By day 8, the threshold shift in group 2 recovered completely at all frequencies except 20 kHz, where a mean threshold shift of 20.63 dB of sound pressure level (SPL) was present. Hearing impairment in group 3 persisted in 8-, 16-, and 25-kHz frequencies with thresholds of 21.88, 28.13, and 26.25 dB SPL, respectively (P = .001). After a second AOSE at day 8, similar threshold shift and outcome were recorded on day 15 compared with day 8, with a mean threshold shift at 20 kHz of 29.38 dB SPL in group 2 and mean threshold shifts at 8, 16, 20, and 25 kHz of 29.38, 35.63, 40.63, and 38.75 dB SPL, respectively, in group 3. The difference in ABR threshold recovery was in concordance with scanning electronic and light microscopy findings for each group.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE:
A daily dose of caffeine was found to impair the recovery of hearing after an AOSE.
Scientists who were apparently in desperate need of a research topic have a tip for concert-goers: Don't drink coffee for a while afterward. Based on their new study, it could hurt your hearing.
How does one go about studying such a thing? Well, scientists at the McGill University Auditory Sciences Laboratory who suspected certain substances hurt the ear's ability to recover exposed a group of female albino guinea pigs to 110-dB "pure tone sound" (the equivalent of a rock concert) for a full hour on two occasions, reports the McGill Reporter.
Half were given 25mg/kg of caffeine for 15 days, while the other half went without. A day after listening to the sound, both groups showed similar hearing impairment.
But after eight days, the caffeine-free group's hearing had recovered almost completely, whereas the caffeine group still had difficulty. "Our research confirmed that exposure to loud auditory stimuli coupled with daily consumption of 25mg/kg of caffeine had a clear negative impact on hearing recovery," researcher Faisal Zawawi says.
While the Consequence of Sound notes you can always avoid coffee or soda temporarily after a concert or other noisy encounter, those working in industries like aviation, mining, construction, and manufacturing could be doing a lot of damage to their ears without even knowing it.
"When the ear is exposed to loud noise, it can suffer from a temporary hearing reduction, also called auditory temporary threshold shift," Zawawi says.
"This disorder is usually reversible in the first 72 hours after the exposure, but if symptoms persist, the damage could become permanent."