# Monday, June 16, 2014
                 
Hearing Recovery
What do people think of when it comes to hearing loss?

The first thing that pops into my mind is hearing loss due to age, or repeated exposure to overly loud noises, like a person who works a jack hammer eight hours a day.

It seems inevitable that our hearing will diminish as we grow older, and we tend to accept this as just another fact of life.

But is this hearing loss really inevitable, or can we do something to prevent it and treat it?

The idea that diet can help alleviate or even prevent hearing loss is something that most of us just don’t think of. Yet there have been reputable studies done that have established a direct link between diet and hearing abilities.

Read on for some great tips on how to improve our hearing health!

Tip #1: Magnesium and Noise Related Hearing Loss

Hearing loss due to excessive sound is a routine occurrence in our society, and as a result has been extensively studied.

What these studies have found is that the magnesium has a profound impact on our hearing abilities. In fact, magnesium:
  • Prevents hearing loss due to excessive noise and;
  • Improves hearing that has already been impaired by excessive noise
A study published in the U.S. National Library of medicine (see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8135325) tested 300 people and found that NIPTS (Noise Induced Permanent Hearing Threshold Shifts, or "hearing damage") occurred more often and with greater intensity with people in the placebo group versus the people receiving magnesium supplements.

Unfortunately, many people (especially in Western countries) are deficient in magnesium. Consequently, as we age we not only lose our hearing but we also develop a build-up of calcium deposits (since magnesium must be present for the body to process the calcium properly).

Note that there are over-the-counter magnesium supplements, and in addition the following foods are all great sources of magnesium:
  • Cacao
  • Sesame seeds
  • Dark leafy greens (e.g. spinach)
  • Pumpkin and squash seeds
  • Fish (especially mackerel)
  • Beans and lentils
  • Bananas
  • Almonds and brazil nuts

Tip #2: Hearing Loss from Vitamin D Deficiency

A well-known consequence of vitamin D deficiency is rickets, which is a softening of the bones due to poor mineralization.

What is not so well known is that vitamin D deficiency can also result in hearing loss due to bones in the ear becoming porous, a condition called "osteopenia".

The good news that is that increasing vitamin D intake to optimum levels oftentimes corrects this condition, with partial or even full recovery of hearing abilities. In extreme cases people that were even deaf from osteopenia were able to fully recover their hearing!

For more information about vitamin D deficiency and how to correct it please see our other blog article, Vitamin D Deficiency: Symptoms and Treatment.

Tip #3: Bio-Identical Hormones and Hearing Loss Due to Aging

In 2005 the Tahoma Clinic in Washington State started treating hearing loss due to aging using a bioidentical hormone called "aldosterone".

Aldosterone is a steroid hormone that is produced by the adrenal glands. It regulates the balance between water and salt in our bodies and it also plays a role in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and protein.

The Tahoma Clinic’s test results were extremely positive. Some of the test patients recovered 100% of their hearing, while others recovered most of their hearing.

Other studies that have corroborated the link between hearing loss and low levels of aldosterone have been conducted by:
For more information about aldosterone therapy please see this Tahoma Clinic article.

Tip #4: Zinc and Sudden Hearing Loss

Occasionally people experience sudden and complete hearing loss, referred to as “SSNHL”, or Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss.

The exact causes of SSNHL are not known at this time. Likely causes include bacterial or viral infections, as well as vascular conditions such as therosclerosis and hypotension.

Standard treatment usually consists of high doses of steroids, although the efficiency of steroid treatment is questionable as are the well documented side effects of steroid use.

Zinc is now being looked at as a possible treatment for hearing loss from SSNHL. Zinc is a mineral that is an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant that strengthens the immune system.

A study published in the US National Library of Medicine found that test subjects with SSNHL that were given a zinc supplement recovered more of their hearing compared to the control group receiving a placebo. This could be explained by zinc reducing the amount of stress on the ear’s cochlea.

Tip #5: Other Nutrients/Factors that Help With Hearing Loss

  • High levels of omega-3 fatty acids have been associated with a significant reduction in hearing loss due to aging (referred to as "presbycusis").
  • Quit smoking. Studies published in The Journal of American Medical Association have found that smokers and people who are routinely exposed to second-hand smoke are twice as likely to experience hearing loss.
  • Free radicals seem to play a role in hearing loss and cell death in the inner ear. Free radical scavenger therapy consists of high doses of things that scavenge and utilize free radicals such as vitamin C, vitamin E and lipoic acid.

Conclusion

Hearing loss is not something that we should just accept as a fact of life.

Not only can we protect ourselves from hearing loss due to age or excessive noise, but we can also recover from hearing loss with a proper diet and supplements.

Let’s feed our ears so we can hear each other!
 
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