Progressive Hearing Loss

Progressive hearing loss leading to deafness is one of the four most prevalent chronic conditions in the elderly. Until the last decade little attention was paid to studying causative factors related to nutrition and blood parameters.  Immunological and autoimmune mechanisms are at work in some cases, so good diagnosis is essential. With children, exposure to the excessive noises of modern life can damage hearing.

It seems that both sudden and age-related hearing loss can be slowed or prevented by dealing with the causative factors. Good nutrition and attention to factors affecting blood flow and blood viscosity, both of which are also are vital for cardiac health, are discussed in our sections on heart health and macular degeneration. In my opinion, backed by the research below. exercise and use of a good quaity multi-vitamin are important preventative measure. Herbs from the blood-moving group such as ginkgo leaf, dang gui root, salvia root, carthamus flower etc. are key factors in treatment. CoQ10 seems to be useful, and Maintaining strong digestion is also of critical importance.

Research Highlights

• A Spanish study of cochlear microcirculation in patients with sudden-onset hearing loss showed high blood viscosity (stickiness) and “a notorious increase in aggregability” (Garcia Callejo et al., 1997).

• An analysis done by Department of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School of malnourished allied prisoners of the Japanese during World War II and among Cubans malnourished during the recent economic embargo showed a rapid onset of visual loss and a high incidence of hearing loss (Lessell, 1998).

• In 1999, the American Journal of Nutrition reported a clinical study showing that women aged 60-71 with hearing impairment had 48% lower serum vitamin B-12 and 43% lower red cell folate than women with normal hearing (Houston et al., 1999).

• Use of high-dose vitamin therapy and hyperbaric oxygen therapy was able to improve recovery rates in cases of sudden sensory neural hearing loss (Shiraishi et. al., 1998).

• For maternally inherited diabetes mellitus and deafness (MIDD), researchers concluded that “CoQ10 therapy prevented progressive hearing loss and improved blood lactate after exercise in the MIDD patients. (Suzuki et. al., 1998)

• As early as 1984 Chinese researchers were able to improve sudden hearing loss using injections of salvia root (Xu and Fan, 1984), and in 1986 a French controlled clinical trial using ginkgo leaf extract was able to do the same thing (Dubreui, 1986).