Does Coffee Make You Hear Things?

Turkish Coffee

Photo: Bertilvidet (CC)

Peter Finocchiaro writes on Salon:

Scholars at Australia’s La Trobe University just released a study showing a correlation between caffeine intake and auditory hallucinations. In layman’s terms: Lots of coffee might make you more likely to hear things that aren’t there.

Researchers came to the conclusion after studying 92 people with a broad range of java-drinking habits. Participants — who were told they were taking part in hearing tests — were set up with headphones and asked to press a buzzer every time they heard audio from Bing Crosby’s classic “White Christmas.” As a matter of fact, the only sound played into the headsets was white noise. But participants who drank at least 400 milliliters (or about 13.5 fluid ounes) of coffee per day were significantly more likely to identify Crosby’s soulful croon.

“On average, low-caf subjects heard it once. But stressed coffee guzzlers buzzed three times,” said Australia’s Herald Sun newspaper.

Summing up the results from the experiment, Professor Simon Crowe concluded …

Read More on Salon

15 Comments on "Does Coffee Make You Hear Things?"

  1. I’d say that’s more the power of suggestion, combined with a caffeine buzz. Still, interesting to note. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get more coffee – Bing’s on the radio again.

  2. I’d say that’s more the power of suggestion, combined with a caffeine buzz. Still, interesting to note. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get more coffee – Bing’s on the radio again.

  3. Anonymous | Jun 13, 2011 at 6:14 pm |

    Perhaps they should try 2C-E

  4. JoiquimCouteau | Jun 13, 2011 at 2:14 pm |

    Perhaps they should try 2C-E

  5. Anonymous | Jun 13, 2011 at 6:48 pm |

    I should really read the study before criticizing it but just from a quick overview I can see that this probably isnt measuring anything to do with hallucinations and more likely to do with caffeine causing users to become more “agitated” or “excitable” and thus far more likely to buzz in.

    If you have ever had a hearing test, you would know that sometimes you feel compelled to buzz in even if you arent sure you heard anything. I wouldnt call it a hallucination its really more of a desire to be correct and caffeine might lessen someones threshold of excitement.

  6. MoralDrift | Jun 13, 2011 at 2:48 pm |

    I should really read the study before criticizing it but just from a quick overview I can see that this probably isnt measuring anything to do with hallucinations and more likely to do with caffeine causing users to become more “agitated” or “excitable” and thus far more likely to buzz in.

    If you have ever had a hearing test, you would know that sometimes you feel compelled to buzz in even if you arent sure you heard anything. I wouldnt call it a hallucination its really more of a desire to be correct and caffeine might lessen someones threshold of excitement.

  7. Mary Mcg. | Jun 13, 2011 at 7:04 pm |

    Sound sensitivity is one of the most aggravating side effects of caffeine for me.  Other stimulants don’t seem to have this effect. 

  8. Mary Mcg. | Jun 13, 2011 at 7:04 pm |

    Sound sensitivity is one of the most aggravating side effects of caffeine for me.  Other stimulants don’t seem to have this effect. 

  9. Mary Mcg. | Jun 13, 2011 at 3:04 pm |

    Sound sensitivity is one of the most aggravating side effects of caffeine for me.  Other stimulants don’t seem to have this effect. 

  10. Anonymous | Jun 13, 2011 at 7:58 pm |

    There’s also a pattern-recognition effect at work here. They’re using white noise, which is easier for people with higher pattern recognition to make patterns out of if they’re expecting to hear something particular. I’d be interested to see if there’s any correlation between caffeine consumption and pattern recognition.

  11. There’s also a pattern-recognition effect at work here. They’re using white noise, which is easier for people with higher pattern recognition to make patterns out of if they’re expecting to hear something particular. I’d be interested to see if there’s any correlation between caffeine consumption and pattern recognition.

  12. Anonymous | Jun 13, 2011 at 8:01 pm |

    I hear tinkle…

  13. GoodDoktorBad | Jun 13, 2011 at 4:01 pm |

    I hear tinkle…

  14. Cepheid Enigma | Jun 14, 2011 at 4:54 pm |

    Caffeine deactivates receptors that control the lapses between synapse communication which may entail the mystery behind leaping to conclusions induced through stimuli intake.

  15. Cepheid Enigma | Jun 14, 2011 at 12:54 pm |

    Caffeine deactivates receptors that control the lapses between synapse communication which may entail the mystery behind leaping to conclusions induced through stimuli intake.

Comments are closed.