It's been a big year for spicy peppers. So far we've seen a New York building get evacuated after a resident microwaved a super-hot pepper, and a guy nearly die from bathing in hot sauce. The latest? Someone went deaf after eating "death noodles." Or so he claims.
"I went temporarily deaf and my mouth was burning for hours afterwards,” said Berlin-based chef andfood vlogger Ben Sumadiwiria in a video he posted to his YouTube channel, after he tried a death known as "death noodles" in Indonesia.
The noodles are so-named because they can rank more than 10 million on the Scoville scale, which measures spiciness in peppers and other foods.
That rating is significantly hotter than the world’s hottest chili, the Carolina Reaper, which can come in as high as 2.2 million. Just to compare: Tabasco sauce, pretty spicy in its own right, runs at about 5,000 on that same scale. The dish Sumadiwiria ate was crammed with "100 bird's eye chilies," aka Thai chilies, or so he claims; each pepper can rank in the vicinity of 100,000 on the scale.
In the course of the video (which has since been removed from Sumadiwiria's Youtube channel but can be found on the UK-based Mirror), Sumadiwiria begins sweating and saying he feels dizzy, and yet keeps eating. At some point, he starts removing some of his clothing and placing his head under running water to cool off. “This was definitely the hottest thing I’ve ever eaten. Within seconds of tasting them I was sweating and feeling sick,” he says in the video.
Mental health questions aside, could noodles have made this guy go deaf, for real? That's a possibility, it turns out. “There are a few anecdotal stories here and there where someone reports a temporary change in hearing or ringing in their ears (tinnitus) that they associate with eating extremely spicy food (usually hot peppers of some type),” says Tabitha Parent-Buck, AuD, professor and chair of the audiology program at A.T. Still University.
That hearing effect can also be caused by an allergic reaction to the food: “Changes in bodily functions such as blood flow, respiration, and immune responses to damaged tissue, could be proposed as a mechanism for a sudden change in hearing that would likely be temporary,” adds Parent-Buck.
So there you have it: Spicy peppers can kill you, and they can bring in the HAZMAT squad. And they can even make you go deaf, at least for a little while.
What else can hot peppers do? Something tells us we haven't seen the last of these stunts yet. And yeah, we're curious. Stay tuned.
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