During the holiday season, many of us are attending more parties, family dinners and social gatherings. In some cases, this may mean more drinking. While there is nothing wrong with picking up a bottle at Blackbird Wineshop to enjoy with Christmas dinner, it is important to avoid drinking excessively this holiday season.
Heavy drinking is associated with a variety of health conditions including heart disease, increased risk of some cancers and liver problems. It has also been associated with a higher risk of hearing loss.
Alcohol and Hearing Loss
Consuming alcohol can affect the way we process sounds. A 2007 study of 30 young adults found that alcohol led to temporary problems understanding lower frequency sounds. The participants’ hearing returned to normal once they were sober. However, researchers cautioned that frequent alcohol-induced hearing loss could lead to more permanent damage.
Too much alcohol can also affect the volume of fluid in your inner ear, leading to temporary dizziness and balance issues, and even tinnitus. While these symptoms usually go away on their own, they can be unpleasant side effects that are worth avoiding.
Concerned About Hearing Loss?
If you are unsure whether you are experiencing hearing loss, either from alcohol consumption or another cause, here are a few early signs:
- Family or friends have commented on your hearing.
- It seems like people are always mumbling, or that you are often asking them to repeat what they said.
- You have trouble following conversations in groups, especially if there is background noise.
- Telephone conversations are hard to follow.
- Others comment on the volume when you listen to the TV or music.
If any of this sounds familiar, we recommend scheduling an appointment with an audiologist so that they can conduct a hearing test. Nearly all hearing loss is progressive. If you do have hearing loss, the sooner it’s diagnosed the more successful treatment will be.
Treatment with hearing aids not only benefits your hearing it can improve your physical, mental and emotional well-being. Hearing aid use is regularly associated with an overall higher quality of life compared to those who leave their hearing loss untreated.
Protect your health and schedule an appointment with a hearing loss expert at Mt. Hood ENT today.