Can Loud Music in Bars Trick You Into Drinking More?

Do you find yourself knocking back a few more drinks than planned when you’re out at a noisy bar? Well, you’re not alone. Studies show that loud music and increased noise levels in bars can actually make you drink more, and faster. But what’s the science behind this? Let’s dive deep into the fascinating world of sound and booze, and explore how you can enjoy a night out without the nasty hangover the next day.

The Sound of Overindulgence

In a study conducted in France, researchers teamed up with bar owners to observe the drinking habits of patrons as the loudness of music from a jukebox was secretly manipulated. They discovered that as the volume went up, the amount of alcohol consumed by the patrons increased as well. Nicolas Guéguen, a professor of behavioral sciences at the Université de Bretagne-Sud in France, explained that the high sound levels may have caused higher arousal within the subjects, leading them to drink faster and order more beverages.

Another explanation Guéguen offered for the increased drinking was that loud music may have negatively impacted social interaction in the bar, causing patrons to drink more because they talked less. So, if you’re having difficulty hearing or being heard by your friends in a noisy atmosphere, there’s a chance you’re going to be focusing on your drink more than your conversation.

Upbeat Music, Upbeat Drinking

Another factor to consider is the tempo of the music being played. Further research has demonstrated that when the tempo of music increases, so does the speed at which people drink. This means you may finish your drink quickly simply because the music is pumping you up and encouraging faster consumption.

On the other hand, when there is silence or more tranquil background music, alcohol consumption tends to decrease. It seems that without the stimulating, high-energy soundtrack, people are more likely to take their time sipping on their drinks.

Beyond the Bar

The impact of loud, fast-paced music on alcohol consumption isn’t limited to bars. If you host a party and decide to crank up the volume, your guests may end up consuming more drinks than they anticipated. It’s certainly something to keep in mind if you’re trying to ensure people don’t become overly intoxicated.

Tips for Beating the Sound-Booze Connection

So, what can you do to prevent the loud music at your favorite bar from sabotaging your drinking habits? Here are a few tips:

1. Set limits: Before you head out for the night, decide how many drinks you’re going to allow yourself to have. This can help you remain mindful of your consumption, even when the volume is cranked up.

2. Slow down: Make a conscious effort to take your time with each drink. Sip slowly and savor the flavors, rather than gulping down your beverages.

3. Alternate with non-alcoholic drinks: One helpful strategy is to alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks throughout the night. This can keep you hydrated and reduce your overall alcohol consumption.

4. Choose quieter spots: If possible, try to find a seat in a quieter area of the bar, away from speakers. This may limit the direct impact of the music on your drinking habits.

5. Engage in conversation: Despite the noisy atmosphere, make an effort to talk to your friends and engage in conversation. This can take your focus away from your drink and help you consume less.

In Conclusion

Now that you know about the connection between loud music and increased alcohol consumption, you can be more aware of how the background noise may be affecting your drinking habits. Keep these tips in mind for the next time you’re out on the town, so you can enjoy yourself without overdoing it on the booze. After all, maintaining a healthy relationship with alcohol is all about finding the right balance and enjoying social occasions in moderation.