About 35% of Americans between the ages of 65 and 75 experience some form of hearing loss. And that percentage jumps to 50% after the age of 85.
Hearing loss can affect your life in a number of ways. You may find it more difficult to participate in conversations, either on the phone or in person. You may not be able to follow instructions that someone gives, or sort out a disagreement if you can’t follow what the other person is saying.
Hearing problems can make you feel frustrated, upset, or withdrawn. Other people may misjudge your reactions and think that you are confused, or being deliberately difficult.
Most treatments that can help with hearing loss involve the use of an adaptive device. Hearing aids and amplifiers on telephones are two common adaptive devices.
But now a new study suggests that antioxidants also play a role in the treatment of hearing loss.
Conducted by Dr. Colleen Le Prell at the University of Michigan Hearing Research Institute, the study used guinea pigs to determine what effect antioxidants had, if any, on hearing loss.
The guinea pigs were divided into two groups. One group was given vitamins A, C, and E, plus magnesium, and the other group acted as the control group. Researchers then exposed the animals to loud sounds similar to that made by a jet engine at takeoff.
The group given the antioxidants showed significantly less hearing loss than the control group at the end of the five- day study.
The researchers hope to next study the effects of nutrients on soldiers exposed to loud noises during training and field work.
It is not clear from the test involving the guinea pigs which antioxidants at what doses would be beneficial to humans.
The researchers think that the antioxidants may have helped by preventing the growth of free radicals which damage cells and by protecting the auditory nerves.
What are some of the best sources of antioxidants?
— berries, particularly blueberry — beans, kidney and pinto — cranberry — artichoke — apples (Red Delicious, Granny Smith) — pecans — walnuts