Drank too much? How alcohol impacts your hearing
Nausea, vision impairment and hangovers are common symptoms of excessive alcohol consumption, but alcohol can affect hearing in ways that we may not immediately realize, though we should definitely be aware of them. Here are four ways alcohol can affect your hearing.
- Alcohol damages the brain Hearing health is closely linked to brain health, and alcohol is known to have negative effects on brain function. In fact, excessive drinking can damage the area of your brain that processes sound. You may be able to hear sound, but you will find it increasingly difficult to comprehend. You may even find it difficult to distinguish sounds in a noisy environment.
- Alcohol can cause temporary hearing impairment The tiny hair cells in our ear receive the sounds we hear, and then translate them into signals our brain can understand. Alcohol can damage these hair cells which can lead to permanent hearing loss long term.
- Alcohol affects the composition and amount of fluid in your inner ear This is important because the fluid in our ears help to maintain our balance. When we drink alcohol, the alcohol gets absorbed into the fluid in our ears and can remain there even after it has left the blood and the brain. The absorption of alcohol into this fluid can not only cause temporary hearing loss, but can also cause us to feel dizzy or spatially disoriented.
- Alcohol can cause a ringing in your ear Alcohol causes our blood vessels to swell, and increases blood flow to the inner ear which can cause a ringing sound in your ear. While this is usually a temporary side effect of excessive alcohol consumption, the ringing in your ear can last for hours, impairing your hearing and making the recovery from your excessive alcohol consumption more frustrating.
Overall, avoiding alcohol, or at least limiting your alcohol intake can help to prevent the symptoms above. If you suspect an issue with your hearing, consult a hearing professional.