Ears Hearing

Tinnitus and Alcohol – Frequently Asked Questions

There are conflicting reports out there about tinnitus and alcohol. Some people claim that having a drink reduces their tinnitus symptoms. Other people claim that having a drink increases makes their ear ring worse.

Science hasn’t helped clear things up either. A 1995 study at the Welsh Hearing Institute found that 22% of the participants reported increased tinnitus from drinking alcohol, while 16% reported reduced symptoms. The other 62% reported no effect. With results like those, it is no wonder people are asking questions like these:

Why do some people get tinnitus relief with alcohol?

There is no solid research that tells us why some people benefit from mixing tinnitus and alcohol. One possible reason is that the people who benefit from a drink or two are those whose ringing ears are at least partly caused by stress.

A little bit of alcohol is known to reduce stress in many people, so it stands to reason that for those people, a drink could act as a makeshift tinnitus treatment.

IMPORTANT: Please do not take anything you read here as a suggestion that you should start drinking if you do not already do so! This article only pertains to people who currently drink alcohol and are wondering about its effects on their ringing ears.

Why do some people find that tinnitus and alcohol don’t mix?

If you are a heavy drinking, it is easy to understand why your drinking makes your ears ring worse. Heavy drinking causes headaches and general damage to your system, which can only be bad for your ears. The connections are less clear for moderate drinkers. It could be because some people find alcohol to be a mild stimulant, and stimulants are known to increase tinnitus symptoms.

How do I know which group I fall in?

You can easily figure out whether alcohol improves, worsens, or doesn’t appreciably affect your ringing ears. Simply keep a log for a few weeks. In it, record how bad your tinnitus is before and after you consume alcohol. Over time, a pattern will emerge that tells you where you stand.

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