February 3, 2005
Studies with guinea pigs and American soldiers show that large doses of the vitamins C and E prevent chronic hearing impairment caused by noise. The conclusion is important, as every tenth grown-up has impaired hearing.
Do you have difficulties hearing? If so, the cause might be a vitamin deficiency. This is the result of a study carried out at the renowned Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden – the hospital is known throughout the world for being the place in which the staff scientists decide who gets the annual Nobel Prize for medicine.
The study showed that if the guinea pigs were given large doses of the vitamins C and -E before and after a violent noise impact, they would avoid the chronic hearing impairment that would otherwise be the result. Studies of American soldiers at target practice have shown similar results.
Impaired hearing is more common than you would probably think. 10% of all adults have so serious hearing difficulties that it affects their everyday communication. The prevalence increases with age, but many people become hearing impaired when they are young if they have a liking for violent music or if they have some sort of genetic predisposition for being sensitive to noise.
Professor Mats Ulfendahl from The Center for Hearing and Communication Research at the Karolinska University Hospital is behind the study. It was based on the knowledge that noise produces free oxygen radicals in the sensory cells of the inner ear and that these radicals are responsible for destroying the sensory cells.
For this reason, it was logical to try to limit the damage by supplying antioxidants to the guinea pigs. Ulfendahl presented the results at a congress about hearing impairment at the Karolinska University Hospital in September 2004.
Mats Ulfendahl is among the world’s leading researchers in hearing impairment and, among other things, he has demonstrated that there are stem cells in the inner ear that can develop into mature auditory- and neve cells. He believes that this discovery can imply that during the next 10 – 20 years, people suffering from aquired deafness can have their hearing restored. If he is right, it is hardly unlikely that his colleagues at the Karolinska University Hospital will nominate him for the Nobel Prize.
At present, there is no method for repairing damaged auditory cells in humans. Birds, however, automatically regenerate their hearing when they become deaf as a result of a noise injury. The thought of restoring hearing, therefore, is not fundamentally impossible. If you are considering some kind of prophylaxis before going to a disco, for example, it would probably be a good idea to consider taking a megadose vitamin supplement.
By: Vitality Council
This time we do not refer to a scientific article, but an online introduction by a Swedish professor and a speech (in Swedish), which you may listen to directly at the web addresses below:
1) Can vitamins really soothe impaired hearing? ( Kan verkligen vitaminer lindra hörselnedsättning? ) http://www.hrf.se/templates/Page2x1____3855.aspx
2) Take a vitamin pill and then listen! ( Ta en vitamin och hör sen! )