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The Verdict on Caffeine & The Voice?

Doctor's Corner with Anthony Jahn

Dear Dr. Jahn,

What is the verdict on caffeine and the voice? I have heard that it doesn’t actually dry out the voice that much. Can I start enjoying the odd cup of coffee without hurting my voice?


Dear John,

You’re right, and as a fellow coffee drinker, I’m pleased to debunk that theory.

Drinking coffee (or other caffeinated drinks) does increase the urge to urinate.

This is misconstrued by many as evidence that caffeine is a diuretic, therefore drying. I have been told by urologist colleagues that this is not the case.

Rather, coffee makes muscles more contractile. The bladder muscle will signal you to “go” more readily, with smaller degrees of distention.

So you may pee twice as frequently, but your urine output is the same.

Now, excessive amounts of caffeine may be a problem – not from dehydration, but because you may lose some neuromuscular control over your voice. This would manifest in singing softly as a tremor.

All said and done, coffee has been shown to have other health benefits, and a daily cup of joe will definitely not hurt your singing.

-Anthony F. Jahn, MD, FACS, FRCS(C)

Dr. Jahn welcomes your questions. You can send these to editor@voicecouncil.com

This discussion is for general information and not to be construed as specific medical advice that you should obtain from your own physician.

You can see more of Dr. Jahn’s work here.

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  • Robert Lunte

    I totally agree… the “no coffee” myth is bunk. completely bunk… I pound coffee every day and it doesn’t hurt me one bit. In fact, I think it helps. The warmth and the caffeine are helpful. There is nothing wrong with singer’s getting a little buzz from coffee. Robert Lunte: http://www.TheVocalistStudioStore.com. You are better off purchasing this product anyways, http://www.singerstea.com. This works great!

  • Word

    This is great news! I have sung for many many years and never stopped drinking coffee even though I believed the myth. Only problem is unless you are drinking organic coffee, the pesticides laden beans are detrimental to your over health anyway…via the accumulation of pesticides in the body.

  • Anthony

    That’s awesome but you’re article doesn’t address the effect of coffee on acid reflux. I’ve read that that is what’s detrimental to the voice. Thoughts? Opinions?

  • Anthony