There are a lot of conflicting opinions about the effects of alcohol on tinnitus, largely because people react differently to alcohol, and people react differently to tinnitus. Some claim it reduces the sound of tinnitus while others claim it makes it worse.
On a personal note, when I first encountered tinnitus, I climbed into the bottle. I cannot say that it quieted my tinnitus but it did help me to cope. However, on the other hand, if I drank too much, it definitely made my tinnitus louder the next morning.
I tried refraining from alcohol for weeks at a time in hopes that it would have a positive effect on my tinnitus. Sadly, I noticed no change. I still had the regular mix of good days and bad days with no perceivable difference. Most of my research uncovered the same results.
Here is an excerpt from a recent study that I found on PubMed:
“One hundred chronic sufferers attending a tinnitus outpatient clinic completed self-report questionnaires assessing the quantity of alcohol they consumed weekly and its effect on tinnitus. The results showed a mixed effect of alcohol on tinnitus with 22% of the sample reporting that drinking worsened tinnitus, 62% reporting no effect of alcohol on tinnitus and 16% reporting that alcohol improved tinnitus. The reported effect of alcohol on tinnitus significantly influenced the reported change in the level of alcohol intake since tinnitus onset, with significantly more units of alcohol being consumed by those sufferers who reported that alcohol improved their tinnitus. However, for the sample as a whole, drinking behavior was not significantly different to that of the general population.”
~ PMID: 8838550 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Responsible drinking should not be a problem for most tinnitus sufferers. However, leaning on alcohol as a crutch to cope with your tinnitus could eventually lead to alcohol dependence and/or other adverse health conditions.
It is much better to distract your focus from tinnitus by doing things you enjoy and being around people you love.