loss is always a disturbing problem, but it’s one that
too often goes untreated. Many people who experience diminished
hearing simply accept it as an unfortunate but normal part of
life. While it’s true for some people, age-related hearing
loss is unavoidable, the progression of many cases can be halted,
significantly slowed, or even reversed with proper diagnosis
and treatment. And with good nutrition and ear care, it’s
often quite possible to prevent hearing loss in the first place.
is a complex combination of many processes in the ear, the nerves,
and the brain, and any disruption of these functions can lead
to partial or complete deafness. Nevertheless, hearing problems
can generally be categorized according to one of two types:
conductive and sensorineural. Conductive hearing loss, which
is caused by mechanical problems in the ear’s structures,
is by far the more common of the two. Although its tendency
to come on suddenly can be frightening, it can often be resolved.
frequent cause of conductive hearing impairment is a buildup
of wax in the ear canal. Normally, wax (or cerumen, to use its
medical name) lines the ear canal and serves as a lubricant.
When too much wax accumulates, it can block the canal and can
lead to hearing loss, as well as to pain and ringing in the
ears. A middle-ear infection can also cause a blockage, especially
if the infected fluid remains in the ear for a long time and
coagulates around the small bones (ossicles) that are responsible
for transmitting sound waves. Ear infections and excessive ear
wax are both radically treatable, often with home care, and
several highly effective nutritional strategies can prevent
the problem from recurring.
instances, conductive hearing damage is more serious. If you
suffer hearing loss after a fall or a blow to the ear or the
head, of if you experience a sudden, intense pain in your ear,
see your doctor at once. You may have a ruptured ear drum or
damage to the hearing sensor, called the organ of Corti. Even
innocuous-looking cotton swabs can cause grave damage, including
ruptures, when inserted deep into the ear canal. Some drugs
can also affect the organ of Corti, so talk to your doctor if
you experience hearing loss after starting a new prescription
drug. Finally, some conductive hearing damage may simply be
a part of aging. As the body gets older, the eardrum can thicken
and other ear structures may grow weak, leading to partial loss
of hearing. More than 40 percent of people seventy-five and
older experience some degree of hearing problems.
hearing damage affects the nerves that receive sound waves and
transmit their impulses through the ear and to the brain, where
the impulses are registered as the sensory perception of sound.
Almost all sensorineural hearing damage is due to high levels
of noise. Loud concerts and stereos turned up to full volume
may be the most obvious source of excessive noise, but sirens,
airplanes, trains, jackhammers, and construction sounds are
common culprits as well. Every time you’re exposed to
a loud noise, your auditory nerves are damaged; a lifetime of
noises can add up to permanent hearing loss. In some cases,
sensorineural hearing problems are caused by other disorders,
including diabetes, arteriosclerosis, lupus, and hypothyroidism.
And again, sometimes nerves simply weaken with age and lose
their ability to conduct sound effectively. However, recent
research has shown that loud noises form free radicals that
damage the inner ear. Antioxidants such as vitamin E, zinc,
NAC, magnesium, and vitamin A appear to protect against this
cause of damage, although they have not been shown to reverse
hearing loss. In some cases, tumor growths on the nerves involved
with hearing are responsible for the hearing loss. One must
also consider other structural possibilities, such as vertebral
and soft tissue misalignment in the neck and the jaw (TMJ),
as well as in cranial bones.
what you suspect the source of your hearing problems to be,
it’s important that you consult a doctor about any sudden
hearing loss or any gradual hearing damage that does not resolve
itself within a few weeks. For one, the problem may be treatable.
Even if you’re older and believe that the hearing problem
is due to age-related deterioration of ear structures or nerves,
you may be surprised to find that the cause is actually wax
buildup (something to which people over sixty-five are prone)
or a side effect of medication. If the cause is not obvious
to your doctor, he or she should run tests to rule out an underlying
disorder. Finally, even hearing problems that are not reversible
by natural means can often be significantly improved with hearing
aids, electronic implants, or even surgery.
** All of these prescriptions below have been proven effective;
level of effectiveness depends on the individual. Please consult
your doctor when taking any and all supplements.
Super Prescriptions – Hearing Loss
Prescription #1 Ginkgo
biloba - LifeSource
Take 60 to 120 mg twice a day of a 24 percent flavone
glycosides standardized extract. This herb increases blood
flow, which helps ear tissues receive the oxygen and the
nutrients they need for good health.
Prescription #2 Vitamin
B12 - LifeSource
Take 1,000 mcg of sublingual B12 daily. This B vitamin
is important for nerve health.
Prescription #4 Vitamin
E - LifeSource
Take 400 to 800 IU daily. It acts as an antioxidant and
Prescription #5 Cayenne (Capsicum annuum)
Take 300 mg twice daily. Cayenne improves circulation.
Prescription #6 Garlic
(Allium sativum) - LifeSource
Take 2,500 mg of aged garlic daily. Garlic decreases cholesterol
levels and improves blood flow.
Prescription #7 Bromelain - LifeSource
Take 500 mg three times daily between meals. Look for
products standardized to 2,000 M.C.U. (milk-clotting units)
per 1,000 mg or 1,200 G.D.U. (gelatin-dissolving units)
per 1,000 mg. Bromelain has a natural anti-inflammatory
effect. Protease enzyme products also have this benefit.
Hearing loss may occur gradually, or it may happen suddenly
Partial or total inability to hear
Poor diet and nutritional deficiencies
Age-related weakening of the ear structures and the nerves
Structural abnormalities (especially cervical spine, TMJ,
and cranial bones)
Other disorders that cause hearing loss
no one has proven (yet) that antioxidants can reduce or prevent
hearing loss, we do know that they slow many aspects of the
aging process. Increasing your antioxidant intake by consuming
more deeply colored fruits and vegetables certainly can’t
hurt you, and it may prevent or slow hearing damage (along with
many other disorders we tend to associate with old age).
of fiber at every meal. Good sources include whole grains, especially
oats and brown rice; beans; nuts and seeds; and raw or lightly
cooked fruits and vegetables. Fiber will improve circulation
to your entire body, including your ears. Fibrous foods also
tend to require chewing, an activity that discourages wax from
accumulating in your ear canals.
can lead to hearing loss, include sea vegetables such as kelp,
in your diet. These foods are high in iodine, a mineral that’s
necessary for good thyroid health. You can easily incorporate
sea vegetables into soups, especially miso broth, or add them
to a stir-fry with brown rice and tofu.
Foods to Avoid
experience frequent ear infections or a buildup of earwax, you
may have a food allergy. If a certain food provokes ear problems
or excess mucus (which can lead to infection), avoid it.
you are not allergic to milk or dairy products, stay away from
them for the duration of an infection or a wax problem. Dairy
encourages mucus to accumulate, which can encourage infection
or excess wax.
have a chronic hearing problem, eliminate saturated fat, especially
red meat and fried foods, from your diet. Saturate fat contributes
to earwax and slows circulation to the ear structures. Removing
saturated fat from your meals and snacks will also help reverse
arteriosclerosis, a disorder that may cause hearing loss.
feed on sugar, so people who are prone to ear infections should
radically reduce their consumption of it. The best course of
action is to cut out all refined sugars and have fruit or naturally
sweetened products for dessert.
have recurring ear infections or wax problems, a short juice
fast will help clear your body of excess mucus. Fasting is also
helpful for people whose hearing loss is connected to food allergens,
as a three-day respite from solid food will rid your system
of the toxic substance.
Protect your ears from loud noise. If you are outdoors and
hear a loud sound such as a siren or a train whistle, cover
your ears; if you’re in a car, roll up the windows.
Play music at a low to moderate level, and wear earplugs if
you must attend a loud concert.
For those of you who cannot avoid exposure to noises because
of your job, invest in earphones that cover your ears, and
rest in a quiet place as often as you can.
Excessive ear wax can often be treated successfully at home.
Buy an over-the-counter preparation containing carbamide peroxide
and gently squeeze a few drops in your ear canal. This solution
will help soften the wax so that it comes out easily. (You
can also use hydrogen peroxide, if you prefer.) Allow the
liquid to remain in your ear for a few minutes; for very hard
wax, you may want to wait a day or two. Then use a bulb syringe
filled with warm water to gently flush out the ear. If the
plug of wax does not come out immediately, keep trying. It
may take some time, but most people find that the wax does
come out eventually.