According to a report from food.gov.uk, around half of UK adults are currently taking food supplements on a regular basis, with a further third having taken them in the past. All of us know that Vitamin C boosts your immune system, Vitamin D strengthens your bones, and vitamin A is beneficial for your eyes. But did you know that vitamins and minerals can also affect your hearing?
Whilst there is no magic supplement that can fully prevent hearing loss or decrease its symptoms, there are certain nutrients that can help protect your hearing health and reduce the risk of the condition becoming more severe:
Folate/ Folic Acid
Folate (or folic acid, as it’s called in its synthetic form) has been shown to have a considerable protective effect against noise induced hearing loss.
The reason behind this is the way it impacts homocysteine: an amino acid that has the ability to impair blood flow to various areas of the body, including the inner ear. Folate actively metabolises homocysteine, reducing its levels in the body and decreasing the risk of damage to your hearing system.
Magnesium has been reported to have preventive effects on noise-induced hearing loss, with studies from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov showing that the severity of hearing impairment as a result of excessive noise can be reduced in individuals taking a magnesium supplement. What is more, it has also been suggested that long-term administration of magnesium can serve as treatment after the acoustic trauma has already occurred.
It is thought that magnesium’s benefits on hearing are due to its neuro-protective and vasodilatory effects, as those prevent the disruption of blood supply to the inner ear.
Vitamins A, C, and E
Studies from pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov have demonstrated that a combination of vitamins A, C, and E can lower the risk of hearing loss thanks to their powerful antioxidant qualities. They are thought to stop the excessive production of free radicals that can damage the cells in the ear and can help prevent noise-induced hearing loss if supplemented before exposure to loud noise.
B12 deficiency is considered to cause degeneration of neurons in the cochlear nerve, leading to hearing loss, hence why the supplementation of Vitamin B12 can help in the prevention of hearing issues occurring.
It also may be possible that Vitamin B12 can help relieve symptoms of tinnitus as indicated by studies from sciencedirect.com, however there isn’t enough evidence yet to confirm this.
Vitamin D has a great significance for your hearing. When a deficiency of this vitamin occurs, it could cause your bones to become weak and cease functioning properly. This can then lead to conditions such as osteoporosis, which has been shown to increase the risk of hearing loss due to impacting the auditory ossicles (the tiny bones inside the inner ear). When this happens, the way in which sound waves are moved and amplified inside the ear changes, leading to issues with sound processing.
Many studies have demonstrated that there is a significant correlation between zinc deficiency, tinnitus, and sensorineural hearing loss.
It is thought that its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects may reduce the oxidative stress of the cochlea in sensorineural hearing loss. Furthermore, zinc may also modulate a certain type of receptors (called ‘glutaminergic receptors’) located in the central auditory pathway, thus resulting in a suppression of tinnitus.
Clearly, vitamins and minerals have a great significance when it comes to your hearing health, and most people can get all the nutrients they need by consuming a balanced, healthy diet, although some may need to take extra supplements.
The best way to take care of your hearing, however, is to attend hearing tests regularly so that, if an issue begins developing, you can act as soon as possible and prevent further damage. This is even more important in case you are already experiencing symptoms.
Hear4U offer hearing assessments that are 100% free and utilise the latest technology in the field to provide us with a comprehensive analysis of your ability to hear. Click here to book your appointment with us!