Tinnitus and Alcohol
A little while ago I wrote about this topic on my Instagram-account. It seemed to be a topic that affects many people.
And I wondered, why does it affect so many people?
Why do we want to drink alcohol?
In my opinion there are a number of factors.
We grow up wanting to drink
When we are not old enough yet to drink, it is something we desperately want to do. We are always told we can´t drink yet because it is only for people who are older, so it become something desirable. It becomes a symbol for being an adult. And who doesn´t want to be an adult when being under aged.
Drinking makes us socialable
We might not wait until we are old enough or we do, no matter what drinking becomes something we do with our friends. Drinking turns at some point in our live into a free time activity. The main free time activity on the weekends. And it stays like that – forever?!
Getting excluded for not drinking
We might not feel well or just decide to drink less or nothing at all. What happens then? Friends feel judged and try to convince us to have at least a sip, but not just once over and over again. In addition, the people who drink might drink more and more which may not be super fun for someone not drinking. These two facts have lead for me to not enjoying going out as much anymore and to excluding myself and to not getting asked or let´s say getting asked in a weird way. People would say, we are going out but you don´t want to drink, right?!
We want to let go and loosen up
In our society we don´t really learn to relax and unwind anymore. Everything goes really fast, we need to keep up with the fast-past-life to be part of it. But it takes a tool on us and we constantly feel like we need to escape from that life. We want to find a way to relax completely and to feel well. Alcohol or drugs are that escape for many people. When we drink, we forget about our worries and what were are tense about. We are able to let go of control and often even get out of control.
I would say those are the reasons why not drinking at some occasions at least becomes difficult for many or even most people.
We want to be part of our group of friends, we want to belong and we want to unwind, let go of control in an easy way and not through some spiritual experience that leads us to being able to let go of control.
This leads to the second question, why does drinking or why can drinking with tinnitus become a problem?
First, let us look at what drinking does to our bodies.
Let´s start with the obvious.
Drinking alcohol on a regular basis and / or in high dosages affects your liver. The liver breaks down and gets rid of toxic or in general substances that are not good for your body. Having to do so all the time with alcoholic beverages can cause liver inflammation.
I think we all have experienced the effect on our nervous system. Our brain and body can´t communicate as well anymore, effects are that balance becomes difficult and that we can´t produce speech at a normal level anymore. Another effect is that our brains are not able to have difficulties to create long-term-memories. It probably has happened to all of us, that we can´t remember everything from the night before and that we can´t properly speak.
Drinking on a regular basis also affects your stomach, the tissue in your digestive track to be exact. Consequently food can´t be absorbed as well anymore, especially nutrients and vitamins. If that is happening, you might suffer from gassiness, bloating, a feeling of fullness and diarrhea or constipation.
If you drink a lot, your body is so occupied fighting the drinking consequences that it can´t fight of germs and viruses as well any more. So your Immune system might not work as well anymore.
When we consume alcohol our bodies decrease the production of the anti-diuretic hormone. It usually helps us to reabsorb water, so with less of it in our body we lose more fluid as normally.
Those are of course just a few consequences, but I think I made my point. We always forget the drastic effects of alcohol on our body.
But let´s just say these are the effects on healthy bodies, but what if our bodies are not healthy?
Of course there are many different reasons for tinnitus and nobodies’ tinnitus story is the same. I think there are as many ear ringing diagnosis as people, but I´m almost certain that the nervous system is always a little affected by it.
It might not be the cause, but having a constant disruption in your hear will definitely affect your nervous. So if we consume something that also affects the nervous system, even in a more drastic way – then the tinnitus might get affected even more.
At least mine does. Not right away, but once the alcohol takes its toll at my nervous system I notice it more. Like a lot.
Also I always feel like when I am dehydrated, the tinnitus gets worse. It might have to do with the fluids in the ear canal or not. Not sure what it is, but dehydration affects my tinnitus no matter what. So if I drink beer or wine without drinking water on the side, it also gets louder.
I ´m not sure if this is just an additional thing or if it is connected, but I have had problems with my stomach as well for the last few years. Now, if I do drink and it doesn´t even have to be a lot I get diarrhea the next day for sure.
On my instagram I have read so many different comments and stories. For me, drinking beer or wine in small dosages is fine, but having more affects me more. I guess it goes hand in hand with getting tipsy or even drunk. So let´s say, I have glass or two glasses of wine for dinner, that is totally fine. But more really affects me and my tinnitus.
But I think it is different for everybody. So as always it is about figuring out what works for you and what is it worth for you. For example some people said, even though it affected them they still drink once in a while. Just because they like the taste, it is a special occasion or just because they felt like it and thought once in a while it is worth to support that stronger ringing.
I feel like that also. I usually keep it to one or two glasses of wine or beers, but once in a while I feel like wanting to have more and then I do it because it is a special occasion or just out of nostalgic feelings. Not even sure what it is, but if it makes me feel good, it can´t be too bad.
Others said, no alcohol what so ever or others that it even helps with their ringing. As you see there is no recipe to follow, you just have to find out what it is for you and how you want to handle it.
For me, drinking what at the same time and I´m not talking about a few sips, I´m talking the same amount as the alcohol, really helps.
So the question probably is where you drink. Like I mentioned, I like to have one or two drinks (no, hard drinks as those affect me very quickly and hit me pretty hard) for dinner or when I´m at a friend’s house.
For sure you all have felt the consequence of going to a bar, pub, club or whatever place where loud music is played. It doesn´t even have to be loud music, if there are a lot of people and the acoustic of the place is unfortunate – it makes my ears sing, but not in a good way.
I for one love beer, I love the taste of it! So sometimes I really want to have a nice cold beer and why avoid everything that makes life beautiful. So important for me is, where I choose to enjoy it.
Not everybody wants to have a drink at home all the time, so I make sure to choose a place I feel comfortable at and that doesn´t make me feel like I´m in hell. Some bars are fairly quiet and offer spaces where you can sit down almost privately to talk to your friends, like at those booths some places have. When I´m at places like that I feel pretty good and it isn´t too loud for my ears. Also at places which are designed for talking and not for parties it is usually better.
So how about you? What do you think?