For many people, there’s nothing more refreshing than an after-work drink at Rosie Malloy’s Pub in Vero Beach. However, like with many indulgences, moderation is key.
Research shows that alcohol consumption can actually affect your hearing. We review more about this link below.
Effect of Alcohol on the Brain
If you drink excessively, the auditory cortex of your brain, which is responsible for helping you process sounds, can be affected. This means even if your ears are healthy, you may still have trouble hearing if this part of your brain is damaged.
One study by researchers at the University of Ulm in Germany found that heavy drinking over a long period of time can cause this type of damage. This results in increased time to process sounds, trouble understanding people who speak quickly and difficulty distinguishing one voice from another in environments with a lot of background noise.
Another study, this one out of London, showed that alcohol use disorder can lead to problems hearing low-frequency sounds, a condition referred to as “cocktail deafness.” Although this type of hearing loss is usually temporary, the researchers hypothesize that repeated conditions can lead to permanent damage.
Other Audiological Problems
In addition to hearing loss, drinking is associated with other audiological problems, such as dizziness and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Alcohol can change the volume and composition of the fluid in the inner ear, leading to dizziness. In addition, it can also cause blood vessels in the ears to swell, produce more blood flow and cause ringing or other sounds.
Resources for Quitting
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I ever end up drinking more or for longer than I initially intended?
- Have I ever wanted to cut down on drinking but was unable to?
- Do I spend a lot of time drinking or being affected by the aftereffects?
- Do I experience strong cravings for alcohol?
- Has my drinking ever interfered with my daily responsibilities?
- Have I ever put myself in dangerous situations while drinking?
- Have I continued drinking despite the negative effects on my mood?
- Have I stopped doing activities I once loved because of my drinking?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, it may be time to start thinking about quitting alcohol. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism have resources to help.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, call Aaron's Hearing Aid & Audiology Center today.