Four Ways Alcohol and Smoking Can Affect Your Hearing!


As much as we enjoy a glass of champagne to celebrate, or a drag of smoke to overcome the stress, do you know that drinking and/or smoking can impact your hearing? Here’s what the researchers have to say.

Researchers from the University of Ulm in Germany tested both drinkers and smokers BAEP levels (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Potentials) by testing the level of damage in the part of the brain that enables you to hear. The results indicate a correlation between alcohol, smoking and hearing loss.

Whether young or old… watch out for this

Alcohol and smoking damages the brain

Hearing health is closely linked to brain health, and alcohol and/or smoking 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 and/or smoking can damage these hair cells which can lead to permanent hearing loss long term.

Alcohol and/or smoking 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 or smoke, it 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 and/or smoke into this fluid can not only cause temporary hearing loss but can also cause us to feel dizzy or spatially disoriented.

Alcohol and smoking can cause a ringing in your ear

Alcohol and/or smoking 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 and smoking, or at least limiting your alcohol and smoking intake can help to prevent the symptoms above. If you suspect an issue with your hearing, consult a hearing professional.

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