V L Georgalas et al, 2021. The Effects of Caffeine on Voice: A Systematic Review, Journal of Voice, published online.

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Caffeine is considered a dehydrating agent due to its diuretic effects and influences the body’s fluid balance. The relationship between voice and hydration has been widely investigated and it is accepted that inadequate hydration has detrimental effects on phonation. Since dehydration negatively affects the vocal folds and caffeine is considered a dehydrating agent, it can be hypothesized that voice might be negatively affected by caffeine intake. This systematic review aims to summarize and appraise the available evidence regarding the effects of caffeine on voice.

Randomized and non-randomized experimental studies of healthy participants were retrieved following an electronic searching of six databases in June 2020. No publication, language or date restrictions were applied. Data extraction of relevant data and risk of bias assessment was conducted independently by two reviewers.

Five non-randomized experimental studies were deemed eligible for inclusion. The format of the administered interventions in the included studies was either liquid (coffee) or solid (caffeine tablets). Reported outcome measures used to examine the effects of caffeine on phonation consisted of acoustic, aerodynamic and (auditory & self-) perceptual. No measures were adversely affected by caffeine consumption.

Clinicians commonly advise patients to refrain from caffeine, as caffeine intake increases diuresis with subsequent effects on fluid balance. Such imbalances can potentially induce dehydration which can be detrimental to phonation. This notion cannot be supported empirically, as the evidence is deemed unreliable and no firm conclusions can be elicited to guide clinical practice. The results of this review demonstrate the lack of research in the field and the necessity for future investigations in order to inform evidence-based practice through reliable and valid outcomes.

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