If ear-splitting music and busy bars seem to go hand in hand, a new research suggests that might be because loud music helps to fuel binge-drinking.
Nicolas Gueguen, a professor of behavioural sciences at the University of Southern Brittany in France, who led the study, said deafening music did not just drown out conversation, encouraging people to drink more, but it also aroused the brain, speeding up drinking.
"High sound levels may have caused higher arousal, which led the subjects to drink faster," he said.
"Second, loud music may have had a negative effect on social interaction, so that patrons drank more because they talked less," Gueguen stressed.
The finding is published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, and is drawn from research led by Gueguen, who observed 40 men between the ages of 18 and 25 while they visited one of two bars located in the western region of France.
Louder music spurred more consumption, with the average number of drinks ordered by patrons rising to 3.4 drinks from 2.6 drinks, Gueguen found. The time taken to drink a beer fell to an average 11.45 minutes from 14.51 minutes.
Finding that higher volumes appeared to egg the men on to drink more and faster, Gueguen said: "We need to encourage bar owners to play music at more of a moderate level and make consumers aware that loud music can influence their alcohol consumption.