Tinnitus and Alcohol – An Overview of the Condition and the Possible Link Between Them
Tinnitus and alcohol, the link between the two has always been an issue for discussion. Do you experience a continual ringing, buzzing or squealing in one or both of your ears? If so, then probably you are experiencing symptoms of a medical condition called tinnitus.
Tinnitus in medical terms is not actually a disease and several possibilities are still under exploration to decide whether there is any link between tinnitus and alcohol. Depending upon the severity of the condition, the pitch of the sound differs.
The underlying causes for tinnitus may include:
Tumors or Infections: A tumor detected on the hearing nerve or an infection in the middle part of the ear can be one of the possible causes of tinnitus in one or both the ears. This kind of symptom can be detected by the physician and the same can be treated using medical or surgical options.
Internal injury in the head or ear cavity: Injury in the internal part of the head, neck or ear may cause ringing sounds in one or both of the ears. Internal injuries tend to damage vital nerves causing neurological disorders that may lead to the problem of tinnitus.
Stress and trauma: A condition of stress, depression or trauma can bring on symptoms of tinnitus. Irregular and hectic lifestyles may lead to excessive stress and depression in life causing severe conditions of tinnitus.
Ageing: The age factor is one of the most common causes of tinnitus. A deterioration in the hearing nerve in those with extended life spans can cause severe conditions of tinnitus. The medical term used to define the condition of tinnitus caused by age is Presbycusis.
Medications: Excessive intake of antibiotics, aspirin, sedatives, diuretics and anti-inflammatory drugs can lead to side effects including ringing or buzzing sound in the ears. The higher the dosage, the more severe the symptoms are likely to be.
Excessive noise and ear wax: Exposure to loud noises, use of ear phones along with portable music players as well as accumulation of excess wax in the ear are other possible causes of tinnitus.
Tinnitus and Alcohol
Alcohol can possibly be added to the above mentioned list of causes of tinnitus. But because its effects on the causes and conditions of tinnitus are unclear, we will deal with tinnitus and alcohol separately. To date, several studies have been undertaken to ascertain whether excess consumption of alcohol is one of the possible causes of tinnitus but the findings are not conclusive because they reveal that alcohol has a varying effect on tinnitus symptoms for different people. For some, it helps to ease the condition while several other says that it worsens the symptoms. So why the findings so diverse? This could be explained based on the amount of alcohol being consumed.
Moderate consumption of alcohol
As mentioned earlier, stress is one of the causes of tinnitus. A small or moderate amount of alcohol consumption may help to relieve stress caused by hectic routines. A safe amount of alcohol consumption has a positive effect on the psychological and physical wellbeing of most individuals. Alcohol has a positive effect on the autonomic nervous mechanism of the human body wherein a person can feel relaxation and pleasure. Since stress has been identified with tinnitus, the outcome can therefore be positive.
Heavy consumption of alcohol
Heavy consumption of alcohol is never advocated by any physician around the world because it is not only dangerous for our physical health but it is also not good for our psychological wellbeing. Heavy consumption of alcohol tends to act as a stimulant thereby increasing the intensity of tinnitus symptoms. Excessive intake of alcohol or nicotine tends to damage the nervous system causing headaches and reduction of blood flow which can increase the symptoms of tinnitus.
How to Deal with Tinnitus
Tinnitus as mentioned earlier is not a disease but a condition. But when it comes to tinnitus and alcohol, the inconclusive research findings beg the question as to how to deal with tinnitus when an individual is in the habit of consuming alcohol regularly. This should not be difficult because it is an individual matter. Each individual should observe themselves and decide what level of alcohol intake actually triggers or relieves tinnitus symptoms. You then settle on the exact amount of alcohol that is best to ease the symptoms. Start by observing how severe the symptoms already are and then what difference a glass of alcoholic beverage makes on the current condition. Is there any difference if you skip consumption of alcohol for few days?
It should also be borne in mind that alcohol comes in different forms. Among these, red wine has been identified as possibly beneficial due to the level of bioflavinoids it contains. Bioflavinoids for tinnitus also have other health benefits, which we have discussed elsewhere.
The improving or worsening conditions of tinnitus as a result of consumption of alcohol can actually help to understand the current state of your tinnitus condition. Though alcohol can have both positive and negative effects on tinnitus, it is always better for people who believe that tinnitus and alcohol are co-related to visit the physician and seek medical advice.
As a natural course of action, improvement in lifestyle, eating and drinking pattern, can help to reduce the effect of tinnitus. As tinnitus is not a disease, a change in the severity of symptoms may be noticeable. Natural remedies along with conventional medications can actually help to ease the severity thereby making life easier to live for people suffering from severe tinnitus conditions. External aides like hearing aids, sound generators, cochlear implants, neural stimulant and counseling may even help to cure the condition.