The holidays are around the corner, which means more parties and social gatherings. This also often means more drinking. While moderate drinking appears relatively safe for most adults, too much alcohol can have many negative consequences, including putting you at risk for hearing loss.
How Alcohol Affects the Way We Hear
Consuming alcohol can affect the way we process sounds. A 2007 study of 30 young adults found that alcohol led to temporary problems understanding lower frequency sounds. While the participants’ hearing returned to normal once they were sober, researchers suggest that it may be possible that frequent alcohol-induced hearing loss could lead to more permanent damage down the road.
Frequently drinking alcohol in excess can also cause damage to other parts of the body and cause health issues such as:
- Damage to the auditory cortex in the brain
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
All these health problems can also lead to hearing loss.
Alcohol, Tinnitus and Dizziness
Alcohol can change the volume of fluid in your inner ear. This can lead to problems with balance, dizziness and hearing loss. Anyone who has ever had too much to drink and woken up feeling woozy the next day is familiar with these sensations.
Sometimes the dizziness is accompanied by tinnitus. Tinnitus is a ringing in the ear. When caused by drinking too much, it is often temporary. However, it can be an annoying and unpleasant sensation.
While the effects of too much alcohol on your hearing can be frightening, it does not mean you have to return that bottle of wine you just picked up at Winn-Dixie. What it does mean is that you should follow the guidelines for moderate drinking to reduce your risk of health problems caused by alcohol. The CDC classifies moderate drinking as no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
Always check with your doctor if you are unsure whether occasional alcohol use is safe if you have certain health conditions or take any medications.
If you are concerned about alcohol-induced hearing loss or any other type of hearing loss, schedule an appointment to get a hearing test. An audiologist will administer the tests and assess your results to help develop a treatment plan that fits your unique lifestyle and needs.
If you have any other questions or wish to schedule an appointment, call Gulf Coast Audiology today.