Maybe you’ve seen vitamins promoted online or in the supplement aisle at your grocery store or local health food store that claims to help with certain afflictions.
Are any of them actually helpful for your hearing health?
Let’s take a look at what some supplements offer when it comes to helping maintain your hearing health and protecting yourself from hearing loss, and what they cannot provide for consumers.
Your Diet Affects Your Hearing Health
The foods and drinks that you consume, and refrain from, impact your overall hearing health. A Mediterranean diet or DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, might help ward off an age-related hearing loss (presbycusis). These diets promote healthy blood circulation which impacts every organ in your body, including your ears.
Taking vitamins is also an important part of your diet.
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) funded research that concluded those who had “higher intakes of certain vitamins…whether from diet or supplements, appear to be at lower risk for developing hearing loss”.
New Research is currently being conducted to Discover the Effect of Supplements
If your diet can affect your hearing health, supplements that you take can also have varying effects.
There currently isn’t enough evidence to link supplement usage with hearing health or hearing loss.
There are, however, supplements that might help lower the chance of hearing loss and tinnitus.
Vitamins and Minerals that can Help Treat Hearing Loss and/or Tinnitus
Please note that if you are constantly experiencing bothersome tinnitus, do not take Gingko biloba, melatonin, zinc, or other dietary supplements. This is for temporary symptoms.
Infants who are deficient in vitamin B6 might have irregular acute hearing. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition stated that not enough vitamin B12 and low folate levels could be linked to age-related hearing problems.
B12 might also help treat chronic tinnitus for those who have a deficient level.
Folate is a B vitamin that is used by your body to make DNA and helps divide cells. Folate can be found in beans, nuts, and vegetables. Foods like bread and cereals are enriched with folic acid, which is a synthetic version of Vitamin B.
This common vitamin is readily incorporated into most people’s diets. Those with a higher intake of this vitamin have appeared to have a reduced risk of developing hearing loss.
A random clinical trial that took place in the Netherlands showed that supplements with folic acid reduced the decline in the hearing and speech frequencies linked to aging. Even though this is significant to the Netherlands, and possibly other countries, most Americans already have easy access to foods that are fortified with folic acid.
Carotenoids are orange, red, or yellow substances in fruits, grains, oils, and plants. This can include, for example, sweet potatoes. It’s an antioxidant and provitamin (something that transforms into a vitamin - in this case, carotenoids have the ability to change into vitamin A in your body).
High intakes of carotenoids might lower your risk of hearing loss. In a 2015 study that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a higher intake of certain carotenoids, and folate, was connected to a reduced risk of hearing loss.
Omega-3 fatty acids can only come from foods that you consume. It cannot be produced naturally in the body. These fatty acids help with many things from your heart function to the way your immune system works.
Omega-3s are found in fish, which can help prevent or delay age-related hearing loss.
For women, incorporating fish into their daily diet lowers the risk of hearing loss.
If you do not eat fish for any reason, you may get your Omega-3 intake from fish oil supplements. If you are allergic to fish, check with an allergy specialist prior to taking any fish oil supplements.
A small study showed that magnesium may relieve severe symptoms of tinnitus. Additional research is necessary, but magnesium is currently being marketed as a mineral that can reduce tinnitus symptoms. Other herbal remedy treatments include vinpocetine (VPC), ginseng, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), and Ginko biloba.
If you have tinnitus and a deficiency of zinc, taking zinc supplements can be helpful. If your zinc levels are low (this is common for vegetarians, anyone who consumes too much alcohol, or experiences digestive disorders), taking zinc supplements might help lower symptoms of tinnitus.
If your zinc levels are normal, taking supplements will not relieve tinnitus symptoms.
For anyone who already suffers from tinnitus, falling asleep can be a problem. Melatonin - a hormone found in your brain that regulates your circadian rhythm - will help you fall asleep better.
Which Supplement Should You Limit if You Have Hearing Problems?
Since supplements are easily available over-the-counter, consumers may not always be cautious about taking them. Some can actually harm your hearing system.
If you take too much Vitamin C - which is found in various fruits - it can raise the risk of hearing loss.
Remember, supplements can be helpful, but they are not a cure for whatever ails you. Other factors besides your diet, can also impact your hearing health. It’s still important to have a good and balanced diet so that your body can function to the best of its ability.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss and/or tinnitus, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.