Vitamins Could Improve Your Hearing
In the quest for good health, vitamins are a tried-and-true tool. Eyes, heart, immune system—you name it, there’s a vitamin for it. It’s no surprise, then, that vitamins can help our hearing. If you’ve never considered using them to boost your aural abilities, listen up.
A Powerful Vitamin Combination for Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Researchers recently discovered which vitamins to look for in order to fight noise-induced and age-related hearing loss. If your hearing loss is related to exposure to loud noise, consider vitamins A, C, and E taken alongside magnesium. If your hearing loss is simply an effect of growing older, folic acid may help keep your ears sharp.
To reduce noise-induced hearing loss, vitamins A, C, and E coupled with magnesium may be the answer. Noise-induced hearing loss can occur from one incident alone or as the result of long-term exposure to loud noise. Either way, it’s a widespread problem—about 30 million Americans are regularly exposed to hazardous noise levels.
University Hearing Researchers Recommend Vitamins A, C and E
University of Michigan researchers found that this nutrient mixture helps prevent noise-induced hearing loss by blocking the creation of free radicals. We typically associate free radicals with medical problems like cancer, but did you know that free radicals can also damage your hearing?
Here’s how. When the ear is exposed to loud noises, the cells of the inner ear create free radicals. When those free radicals come in contact with the tiny hair cells in the ear, they destroy the hair cells, reducing hearing ability. Once the hair cells are dead, they can’t grow back. Simultaneously, the free radicals restrict blood flow to the ear, making hearing even more difficult.
The hearing experts reported, on the sites Hearing Loss Help and Health Talk, that vitamins A, C and E work alongside magnesium to stop the free radicals from forming in reaction to loud noise. The combination stopped an impressive 80 percent of noise-induced hearing loss. While the vitamins and magnesium taken alone slightly helped hearing loss, when put together - they were significantly more effective!
Because free radicals continue to form even after exposure to loud noise, taking the nutrient combination as many as three days after the incident can still help reduce hearing damage.
Any longer than that, however, and the damage can’t be reduced. From soldiers who’ve served on the front lines, to employees in noisy factories, to teens who like their music cranked up, this finding has the potential to help the vast number of people who are exposed to loud noises for either work or play.
Folic Acid for Age-Related Hearing Loss
Even if you’ve never worked in a noisy environment or enjoyed listening to loud music, you still may find it getting harder to hear as you age. If so, you aren’t alone—one in three Americans over age 70 live with some degree of hearing loss. Luckily, preventing age-related hearing loss may be as simple as upping your folic acid intake.
Age-related hearing loss can occur in part because of the amino acid homocysteine. This essential amino acid causes hearing difficulty by reducing blood flow to the inner ear.
A University of Sydney study found that men and women with high levels of homocysteine in their blood were an alarming 65 percent more likely to suffer from hearing loss. That’s where folic acid comes in. By helping the body break down homocysteine, folic acid prevents the pesky stuff from diminishing blood flow to the ear.
In a 2010 study, audiologists found that people with low levels of folic acid were significantly more likely to experience high-frequency hearing loss. As a bonus - because too much homocysteine in the blood may also indicate heart disease, stroke and dementia, - you’re doing much more than just helping your hearing when you up your intake of folic acid. You can, of course, find folic acid in supplement form, but you can also squeeze more in your diet by choosing beans, citrus fruits, whole grains and dark, leafy vegetables.
So you see, many nutrients help prevent hearing loss, including vitamins A, C, E, folic acid and magnesium. Age-related hearing loss and noise-induced hearing loss affect millions of people in America. Medical researchers and audiology experts recommend these essentials for optimal hearing health. Now that you understand the importance of dietary supplements for hearing problems, start listening today and improve your hearing!
Bauman, N. (2009). Vitamins A, C & E combined with magnesium help prevent noise- induced hearing loss.Hearing Loss Help.
Dobson, R. (2008). Vitamin pill could reverse hearing loss caused by loud noise. The Daily Mail.
Healthy Hearing (2009). Vitamins may provide new medical treatment for hearing loss.
Spreen, Allen (2010). Hearing loss risk spikes 34 percent without key vitamin. Health Talk.
Vloet, K. (2008). Can vitamins and minerals prevent hearing loss? University of Michigan.