There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a cocktail with friends once in awhile, but if you’re in the habit of drinking excessively, beware. Your hearing health may be at risk. In fact, your brain may be shrinking. Researchers believe excessive drinking may damage the auditory cortex in the brain, causing it to shrink. That means that even though the ears may be functioning properly, the brain is unable to correctly process the sounds.

As a matter of fact, those who suffer from alcoholism may be damaging their ears, too, according to health experts. Alcohol creates a toxic environment in the inner ear, damaging the delicate hair cells in the cochlea responsible for detecting sound. And once those hair cells are damaged, they cannot be regenerated. Additionally, those who drink excessively often develop a greater sensitivity to loud noise, making them more susceptible to developing noise-induced hearing loss. This is how drinking cause hearing loss.

And since alcohol makes your blood vessels swell causing greater blood flow, excessive drinkers may experience a condition known as pulsatile tinnitus – or ringing in the ears. While this condition isn’t life-threatening, it can be extremely annoying. According to the studies for a long period, high consumption of alcohol consumption can damage the central auditory cortex of the brain and also can result in brain shrinkage. Because the adding of the auditory nerves damage, even in moderate drinkers there is an also a risk deafness and nerve damage.

Damage to the actual ear
Most of the researchers believe that drinking can cause brain damage. However, the time period for how long the person is drinking and the quantity is still not known. In case the ear is functioning properly but, the brain stops functioning and is unable to process sound. All this brain damage lead to hearing impairment and finally drinking cause hearing loss.

Sometimes individuals who consume alcohol regularly can also damage their inner ear. This addictive habit creates a toxic atmosphere within our body. This toxic atmosphere also damages hair cells in the cochlea of the ear. Professionals call this condition as “ototoxicity”.

How much alcohol is too much?
The longer and more excessively you drink, the worse the damage. Researchers found greater hearing impairment among older individuals with a history of heavy drinking. Since damage to the auditory nerve is cumulative, some studies indicate even moderate drinkers risk damaging their hearing health.

According to the National Institutes of Health publication, a light drinker was defined as consuming between one and 13 drinks each month, a moderate drinker consuming between four and 14 drinks each week and a heavy drinker consuming more than two drinks each day.

Can the loss of hearing be reversed?
Is the damage reversible? It depends. Cocktail Deafness is a term to explain the noise-induced hearing loss that can occur in a crowded bar or nightclub. As the evening progresses and individuals consume more alcohol, they frequently begin talking louder. Sometimes the volume of the music increases, too.

Hearing typically returns to normal the next day; however, prolonged exposure to this environment can result in permanent damage. That’s because exposure to nicotine and noises louder than 85 decibels (dB) are also ototoxic – or damaging to the organs. And nerves connected with hearing and balance.

When all three conditions are present — excessive drinking, prolonged exposure to cigarette smoke and noise levels over 85 dB – the combination can be lethal to your hearing health.