Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Nutritional cocktail may prevent noise-induced hearing loss

Researchers at the University of Michigan Kresge Hearing Research Institute are hopeful that a specific combination of nutrients could help protect the ear against hearing loss induced by loud noises. While the condition is of major concern among military personnel, preventing the return to duty of a large number of troops deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq, it has also been identified as a potential threat to iPod users and others who listen to music through headphones at high volume.

It had been believed until recently that noise causes hearing loss by mechanical vibrations which destroyed inner ear structures. The discovery that intense noise generates free radicals that damage the inner ear cells has led researchers to develop a protective formula that can be ingested prior to exposure to noisy environments. University of Michigan Healthy System assistant professor of otolaryngology Glenn E. Green, MD, and colleagues formulated the combination of vitamins A, C and E, and magnesium as a nutritional supplement. Pre-treatment with these nutrients reduces free radicals that form during and after noise exposure, and may also reduce damage to auditory neurons that can occur due to overstimulation. The supplement is being tested in military trials conducted in Sweden and Spain, a Spanish industrial trial, and a National Institute of Health-funded trial of University of Florida student iPod users. Laboratory studies have demonstrated a reduction in hearing impairment subsequent to noise exposure of approximately 80 percent in animals that received the nutrients. Continue Reading

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