Hearing Loss: A Problem for Young and Old AlikeHearing loss affects roughly one-third of all individuals over the age of 65. And the kids today are already at increased risk for losing their hearing, thanks to their overuse of cell phones, music players, and video games. Your children and grandchildren regularly pump sound directly in their ear canals with no protection of any kind. Hearing loss in youngsters between the ages of 5 and 19 is on the rise, with nearly 20 percent now experiencing difficulties hearing. Age, Noise, and Drugs: Your Ears' Worst Enemies Hearing loss is associated with advancing years because the majority of hearing loss is aging of the ears. Tiny hair cells in the ear, one of the most essential elements in the complicated process of hearing, help the brain identify specific sounds. These delicate cells can be damaged by free radicals. Free radicals are also involved in the process that creates wrinkles and other signs of aging. What else causes hearing loss? The second most common cause of hearing problems is noise. Musicians and construction workers, people who work constantly in noisy environments, are at very high risk.Experts at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders conservatively estimate that 10 million Americans have suffered irreversible hearing damage from noise, while another 30 million are exposed to dangerous noise levels each day. Finally, many people get hearing loss or
Save Your Tiny Hair Cells!The tiny hair cells in your ears are vulnerable to damage from many sources, including:
- Free radicals
- Certain drugs
- Some diseases
- Circulatory problems
- Too few antioxidants
Antioxidants: Hearing Help in a PillCombating both age-related and noise-induced hearing loss requires the same approach — antioxidants. Studies repeatedly show that these nutrients protect us against the cell-damaging rogue molecules known as free radicals. According to the latest research, I recommend the following five supplements:
- Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA): ALA has the amazing ability to recycle vitamins C and E, giving a triple anti-oxidant dose, when combined with its own effects. But when combined with acetyl-l-carnitine (ALC; see below), ALA really shines as an antiaging nutrient with a special affinity for ears. I recommend 100 to 750 mg of ALA daily, with 500 to 3,000 mg of ALC for maximum benefit.
- Acetyl-l-carnitine (ALC): Although our bodies produce ALC, production slows as we age. Supplementing with ALC benefits the ears, especially when combined with ALA (above). The synergy between these two nutrients amplifies the protection they afford the ear's delicate hair cells. Start with 500 mg of ALC daily. If you need more, you can safely take up to 3,000 mg per day. You may want to take these nutrients in the morning and early afternoon because they can be quite energizing and may keep you awake at night.
- Magnesium: Studies repeatedly show that magnesium effectively counteracts noise-induced hearing loss. In addition, it has great benefits for both heart and bone health. I recommend 200 mg twice daily. At least one study reported relief from tinnitus with 532 mg per day.
- Melatonin: This powerhouse antioxidant is well known for helping you sleep better. But it can also help individuals with hearing issues. One recent study found that melatonin protects against the type of hearing damage caused by certain antibiotics. Another study noted that older individuals (60-plus) with age-related hearing difficulties were likely to have low levels of melatonin. I recommend everyone take 3-5 mg daily.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: The first clinical trial to focus on the issue of omega-3 and hearing found that the lower an individual's levels of omega-3s, the greater the likelihood of age-related hearing loss. Similar findings came from a second study examining a group of nearly 3,000 people age 50 and above. I recommend 1000 mg twice daily of a purified omega-3 supplement.
- A diet rich in vegetables, fruit, and small amounts of lean protein
- Plenty of deep, restorative sleep
- Fresh, filtered water
- Regular, moderate exercise
- pH Balance
- Stress reduction