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How You Can Easily Protect Your Hearing

A new animal study showed that a combination of vitamins A, C, and E, as well as magnesium, can protect hearing.

When the mixture was taken in high doses an hour before exposure to a loud noise, and then taken once a day for five days thereafter, the animals in the study were protected from permanent noise-induced hearing loss even after prolonged exposure to sounds as loud as a jet engine taking off at close range.

University of Michigan researchers studied the effect loud noises had on four groups of guinea pigs exposed to 120-decibel sounds after they were treated either with differing combinations of those nutrients or a placebo. The group of animals given all four nutrients suffered less noise-induced hearing loss than all the others.

The vitamins prevent inner ear damage caused by excessive free radical activity, which is a major factor in hearing loss after noise trauma. The doses given after the noise "scavenged" any free radicals that continued to form. The vitamins may also reduce neural excitotoxicity, the damage to auditory neurons that results from over-stimulation.

Clinical trials could begin soon for a hearing-protection supplement in the form of a tablet or snack bar. Such a product could be available in as little as two years.

Free Radical Biology and Medicine February 20, 2007

EurekAlert March 28, 2007

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

If you or a loved one is frequently exposed to loud noises -- for example, American soldiers fighting in Iraq -- then you'll be glad to know a combination of antioxidants may be helpful to protect your hearing.

Of course the BEST way to protect your hearing is to wear proper hearing protection when you are exposed to loud noises. Sometimes this just isn't practical so in those circumstances you might be surprised to find out that vitamin E and other antioxidants can help protect your hearing.

And in addition, vitamin E can also:

  • Prevent cardiovascular diseases
  • Reduce cancer
  • Help improve the functioning of your immune system

Unfortunately, however, some scientists have formed a startup company poised to market this "discovery" in the form of a debatably "nutritional" candy bar or pill. Vitamins in the form of isolated supplements are never as good for you as the ones present in whole foods, where they are accompanied by many other beneficial micronutrients.

Your best sources of vitamin A, vitamin C and magnesium are natural ones.

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