Why Does Alcohol Seem to Reduce the Severity of My Tinnitus? Coincidence or Not?

Discussion in 'Support' started by micketb, Jul 26, 2022.

    1. micketb

      micketb Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Hearing Loss
      Hi all,

      I've have had tinnitus from around 2015 but generally it didn't bother me during day to day life, only at night. However, around August 2021 it became significantly worse in my left side. On another note, I've drank quiet heavily during my 30's (41 now), a few attempts at sobriety but nothing more than a few months at a time.

      Now this kinda brings me to October 2021. I'd started drinking on a evening quite regularly again and I had found that when I was drinking on an evening, I would totally forget about my tinnitus. Another period of sobriety followed in January 2022 to April 2022. During this time I made an appt to see an ENT specialist as my tinnitus was heavily impacting on my mental health and ability to live/work etc. Pretty much from my first appt with the doctor (beginning of May 2022) I had next to no issue with my tinnitus, at the same time drinking slowly crept into my life again. From May 2022 until present, I have been drinking heavily and tinnitus is no longer a problem. Until 2 days ago, I decided I needed to really try put in a good period of sobriety and within 1 day my tinnitus is just as bad as it ever was. This weirdly (or possibly not) coincided with a final appt with a hearing specialist. I had said that my tinnitus isn't really bothering me currently so we decided that CBT therapy wasn't suitable at the moment.

      Am I going mad and seeing correlation/causation that isn't there? My thoughts are:
      1. Alcohol distracts me enough to forget tinnitus?
      2. Alcohol has some other effect on my body that is actually reducing the severity? (I read that it's blood thinning effect could possibly improve blood flow to the ear and reducing severity of tinnitus.)
      3. Psychologically, because I was going through a process of getting checks on my hearing and hoping for a solution, I'd allowed myself to put it aside but now that process is over, the tinnitus it back?
      4. Complete coincidence?
      I should say during January-April 2022 I was very active (10 hours a week for an event), eating well, no alcohol, no smoking, lots of weight lost, very low stress (except being annoyed by tinnitus) and no improvement in my tinnitus.

      Apologies for the huge post. Any insights or suggestions much appreciated. Thanks.
       
    2. dan
      Chatty

      dan Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Toronto, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud noise
      I once read a story about a guy who could only reduce his tinnitus by drinking whiskey daily.

      He figured it was better living as an alcoholic than suffering with tinnitus.

      I'm guessing for a very few lucky folks, alcohol hits the right receptors to silence tinnitus.
       
      • Agree Agree x 2
    3. AnthonyMcDonald
      Confused

      AnthonyMcDonald Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      "Alcohol is believed to mimic GABA's effect in the brain, binding to GABA receptors and inhibiting neuronal signaling. Alcohol also inhibits the major excitatory neurotransmitter, glutamate, particularly at the N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) glutamate receptor."
       
      • Like Like x 3
    4. GuitarMan

      GuitarMan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Mild hearing loss due to high volume sounds
      Hmm... so maybe drinking more might help my tinnitus? That's an experiment I'd be happy to try! So far I haven't noticed any adverse effects from a glass or two of wine every night. Maybe a few more glasses are in order!
       
    5. peejay501
      Frustrated

      peejay501 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Work related
      Drinking alcohol lessens my tinnitus. Very rarely will my tinnitus will lessen on its own, very rarely. However, a few cocktails seem to lessen it considerably... for a short period anyway. I'm not advocating 'converting' to alcoholism, but when all else fails, you go with what works, occasionally...
       
      • Agree Agree x 2
    6. kingsfan
      Haunting

      kingsfan Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      A town near you
      Tinnitus Since:
      9-17-2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      turning everything up to 11
      The problem with drinking alcohol regularly, is it depletes the brain's ability to synthesize GABA and may potentially increase your tinnitus over time.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    7. GuitarMan

      GuitarMan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Mild hearing loss due to high volume sounds
      Is there any research that shows a direct link between alcohol and an increase in tinnitus severity?
       
    8. Strawberryblonde
      Chowing

      Strawberryblonde Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      1st mild (6/12/2015) mild-mod (3/5/2022)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      HEADPHONES/TMJ/ETD/SINUSES/AMITRIPTYLINE one of them???
      Alcohol, especially wine, makes me relaxed enough to tune my tinnitus out, or at least not care about it so much. Anything that helps really.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    9. Ola

      Ola Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Concert: acoustic trauma
      I usually don’t drink alcohol, but when I do have one, it definitely spikes my tinnitus for a few minutes.
       
    10. Stuart-T
      Thinking

      Stuart-T Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear wax or COVID-19 infection
      The chief medical officer of the UK stated that any level of alcohol consumption carries an increased risk of a range of cancers. Personally I try my best to avoid alcohol - the fact you start to feel woozy in the head after a drink tells me all I need to know about its impact. However - I may be tempted to try this out - maybe a glass of wine or small bottle of beer to see if there is a reduction. I will report back.
       
    11. Orba

      Orba Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown/multifactor
      I believe that there was a study that showed, statistically relevant, some temporary relief for patients that drank around 3 drinks. It was in a YouTube video of Prof. Dirk de Ridder. I think it was this:

      Professor Dirk De Ridder: Understanding...
       
      • Like Like x 1
    12. Benjaminbb

      Benjaminbb Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Nov 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely long term noise exposure, combined w pandemic stress
      Hey @micketb,

      The one time I had a distinct tone for a while, drinking had the same effect as it does for you. Not only did I not think about or notice it when drinking, if I drank 5-6 drinks (or whatever was noticeably making me feel quite tipsy) it would be gone the next day for a few days.

      I would use it quite often and it started to give me hope. After a month it changed to a wavering tone that slowly went away. I’m not sure if the alcohol played a role in it going away but it was a big relief and it definitely made it disappear for days at a time.

      Binge drinking isn’t good but it helped ease the initial months. I think overall the improvement of my stress levels in that period was worth it. Maybe i killed off the neurons that were making the tinnitus haha.
       
      • Funny Funny x 1
    13. momus

      momus Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/1998
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      antibiotics
      Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, and in smallish quantities a relaxant. So that in itself would help w/ tinnitus. But one has to distinguish between drinking a small amount of alcohol and getting sloshed. We build up tolerance to it and any drug pretty quickly. Alcohol in excessive amounts can lead to alcoholism and cause brain damage. Tying one on once or twice a month is something different than drinking quite a bit a lot of the time.

      Like nearly everything in life, it really depends on whether one is overdoing it or not. Alcohol was never my drug of choice, so it's not an issue for me. I have a very small bit of Bourbon mixed about 1+6 w/ water most nights before bed, occasionally a couple or three at the most. A liter of Evan Williams will last me a month to a month and a half. That's not much! If I drank more regularly, I would need to drink more to have the same mild effect.
       
    14. Hamspanner

      Hamspanner Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Virus
      A few glasses of wine and my tinnitus disappears and is usually much lower the next day. When I go on holiday and drink every day, it stays low, and it's wonderful. Unfortunately, when I stop, it spikes for a few days. But sometimes, the respite is worth the spike. I'm lucky to have an out for those days when you need it.
       
    15. bobvann
      Ape-like

      bobvann Member

      Location:
      Inside the vortex
      Tinnitus Since:
      April 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud shit
      Tinnitus drove me to drink which I have tapered off because it never did much. I use gummies to help me sleep at times.
       
    16. DeanD

      DeanD Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Mild since 1982 - then Severe Oct 2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Microsuction (Oct 2022)
      This is an interesting thread and shows how food, drink, supplements, medication, etc., have different effects on our tinnitus, as mine spikes when drinking alcohol.

      This happens almost instantly (within thirty minutes) and happens everytime.

      It would stand to reason that alcohol would reduce the volume, or attention, to tinnitus - but it's so strange it works different in us all.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    17. Marshall
      Anime

      Marshall Member

      Location:
      ND
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barotrauma/virus/loud noise/antibiotics
      Alcohol always quiets down my tinnitus, and I'm sure it has something to do with GABA and the brain. But alcohol will make tinnitus worse in the long run because it is neurotoxic and ototoxic.
       
      • Agree Agree x 2
    18. RocketJSquirrel

      RocketJSquirrel Member Benefactor

      Location:
      California, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/1997
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Rock concert
      Alcohol has no effect at all on my tinnitus. But I'll keep trying... :beeranimation:
       
      • Funny Funny x 4
    19. Barry098
      No Mood

      Barry098 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Music
      Several drinks on an empty beach somewhere definitely quiets down my tinnitus!
       
    20. HighleyTall
      In pain

      HighleyTall Member

      Location:
      Belgium
      Tinnitus Since:
      5/2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      monitor noise trauma at gig
      I like drinking wine in the evening; it helps me. I think it is not the alcohol that causes a spike but rather some substances in the specific wine. I can have a spike with some wines.
       
    21. Muw

      Muw Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Concert
      For me it helps too! It reduces it while drinking alcohol and the next morning it's even better... Lasts for like 4-5 days, I don't know why
       
      • Like Like x 1
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