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June 10, 2011

Study: Too Much Coffee Causes Auditory Hallucinations

coffee_pot.jpgDo you hear that? That’s Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” playing as you sip your fourth cup of joe.

Researchers at an Australian university found that coffee drinkers who are also stressed out are three times as likely to hear or see things that aren’t there than their non-stressed, water-drinking friends.

Ninety-two people who thought they were going through a hearing test were told to press a buzzer if they heard any fragments from “White Christmas” during three minutes of static and white noise. The song wasn’t there–not even a single note–but the coffee lovers buzzed three times indicating that they heard it.

I’m not convinced.

First, 92 people isn’t really enough to sway me to change my coffee-drinking habits. Plus, put an earworm in my head like that, and I’ll hear it all day long too!

The health benefits (or lack thereof) of coffee have been debated for ages: Different studies have shown that it helps prevent liver disease, Parkinson’s disease and even diabetes; some say it should be limited during pregnancy.

My personal thought: Everything in moderation. If you’re doing anything–drinking coffee or gardening or walking the dog–and start to hear “White Christmas,” just stop and take a deep breath. Or sing along and enjoy the moment.



About the Author

Summer Huggins
Summer Huggins is an amateur photographer, dog-lover, cupcake-eater and shoe-shopper in Austin, Texas. She loves to travel, cook and take in a good movie, and she volunteers with a local pet-rescue organization as a photographer and dog-walker.