The Sciences


DiscoblogBy ncbi roflJul 26, 2010 11:00 PM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

The acute effects of alcohol on auditory thresholds. "BACKGROUND: There is very little knowledge about alcohol-induced hearing loss. Alcohol consumption and tolerance to loud noise is a well observed phenomenon as seen in the Western world where parties get noisier by the hour as the evening matures. This leads to increase in the referrals to the "hearing aid clinic" and the diagnosis of "cocktail party deafness" which may not necessarily be only due to presbyacusis or noise-induced hearing loss. METHODS: 30 healthy volunteers were recruited for this trial which took place in a controlled acoustic environment. Each of the individuals was required to consume a pre-set amount of alcohol and the hearing was tested (using full pure tone audiogram) pre- and post- alcohol consumption over a broad range of 6 frequencies. Volunteers who achieve a minimum breath alcohol threshold level of 30 u/l had to have second audiogram testing. All the volunteers underwent timed psychometric and visuo-spatial skills tests to detect the effect of alcohol on the decision-making and psychomotor co-ordination. RESULTS: Our results showed that there was a positive association between increasing breath alcohol concentration and the magnitude of the increase in hearing threshold for most hearing frequencies. This was calculated by using the Pearson Regression Coefficient Ratio which was up to 0.6 for hearing at 1000 Hz. Over 90% of subjects had raised auditory thresholds in three or more frequencies; this was more marked in the lower frequencies. CONCLUSION: Alcohol specifically blunts lower frequencies affecting the mostly 1000 Hz, which is the most crucial frequency for speech discrimination. In conclusion alcohol does appear to affect auditory thresholds with some frequencies being more affected than others."

Photo: flickr/robad0b

Related content: Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Anticipated versus actual alcohol consumption during 21st birthday celebrations.

Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Beer Consumption Increases Human Attractiveness to Malaria Mosquitoes.

Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: St. Paddy’s Day special: Surprise! Drinking makes the Irish more aggressive!

WTF is NCBI ROFL? Read our FAQ


1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 70% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2022 Kalmbach Media Co.