Q: Sometimes when I drink a glass of wine, I get ringing in my ears. Is that normal?—Felicia, Kalamazoo, Mich.
A: Ringing in the ears, also called tinnitus, affects over 50 million people in the U.S. It is usually a symptom of several possible underlying conditions, such as age-related hearing loss or ear injury.
According to Dr. Sujana Chandrasekhar, partner at ENT & Allergy Associates and clinical professor of otolaryngology at the Zucker and Icahn schools of medicine, increased blood pressure and dehydration from wine consumption may exacerbate tinnitus. She notes that it's not uncommon to experience tinnitus hours after consuming wine, and that the experience may be reduced by drinking a full glass of water following each glass of wine.
"Because wine can cause nasal congestion, it can also cause Eustachian tube (ET) congestion," she adds. "When the ET is clogged, from wine or other causes, people can experience fullness in the ears and certain types of tinnitus or ringing sounds." While only temporary, Dr. Chandrasekhar says that a glass of water as a "chaser" really helps.v
Please consult your ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist or physician before incorporating wine into a healthy diet.