an african american man smiles as he touches his wine glass to that of his wife as they dine free of hearing difficulties

Noise Impacts Hearing—and Food Choices

How’s this for a New Year’s resolution twofer: Dialing down loud sounds could help an individual’s hearing health and their waistline!

Excess noise can lead to ear pain, ringing or other unwanted head sounds, and even permanent hearing impairment. It’s one of the leading — and most preventable — causes of hearing loss, with populations such as noise-exposed workers, power-tool users, and a growing number of young people affected.

Now researchers have also reported a link between hearing loud music and choosing more calorie-heavy menu options that can, ahem, expand one’s girth. Scientists published their results in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science earlier this spring.

The study, “Ambient Music and Food Choices: Can Music Volume Level Nudge Healthier Choices?” involved a series of field and lab investigations that turned up some interesting findings:

  • Lower-volume music, which can have a relaxing effect, leads to healthier food choices such as salad.
  • Higher-volume sounds, which can induce excitement and stress, inspire less wholesome picks like burgers and fries.

Who knew curbing the volume could support not only your better-hearing goals but your healthy-eating resolutions, too? Now that’s winning!