Though some damage to your ears like tinnitus or exposure to dangerous volumes is irreversible, there are ways to protect your hearing before that damage occurs. Avoiding loud noises and using proper protection when exposed are obvious ways to keep your hearing in tip-top shape, but your diet can also play a critical role in maintaining your hearing health. Vitamins are not a cure-all for hearing loss, but certain supplements have been shown to not only contribute to a well-rounded, healthy diet but also make your body more resistant to hearing damage in the future. Research has found that healthy amounts of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Folic Acid, and many more supplements are key to preserving your hearing for the longevity of your life. So, can vitamins help protect your hearing? The verdict is in: Yes.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient found in oils, nuts, whole grains, and many other great tasting sources, all while being an incredibly important component for our immune system and body functions. Fortunately, Vitamin E deficiency is quite rare, and many of us have a healthy amount in our systems just from our daily diet. The good news is that Vitamin E is not only an abundant building block for a healthy body, but can also reduce your risk of hearing loss! A 2011 study from Vanderbilt University and Australia’s University of Sydney showed that Vitamin E could reduce the prevalence of age-related hearing loss by up to 47%.
There is mounting evidence that Folic Acid is not only often overlooked, but is an essential vitamin in preventing hearing loss for aging populations. Multiple studies have linked folic acid deficiency to premature hearing loss due to Folic Acid’s role in metabolizing homocysteine, a common amino acid associated with cardiovascular functions. Without this amino acid, complications can occur, including the constricting of blood vessels, and can reduce blood and oxygen to vital cells in the inner ear. This can damage the fragile hair cells located inside the inner ear that help translate vibrations into electrical impulses sent to the brain. Damage to these hair cells is irreversible, leading to tinnitus and pre-mature hearing loss, emphasizing the importance of Folic Acid’s role in proper blood flow to protect your hearing.
Vitamin C is known for its ability to help you bounce back from a pesky cold or reduce symptoms from the winter flu, but this super vitamin can also keep your hearing just as healthy. Vitamin C aids a wide range of systems and processes within the body, one of which is to help aid in the production and function of white blood cells, the cells that fight off bacteria and viruses. It also helps your body produce critical antibodies–proteins that neutralize invading microbes. Thanks to Vitamin C, you may be taking far fewer sick days, but how does this protect your hearing? In the same way, these viruses can make you ill, they can also damage sensitive cells in your ears through infections and inflammation. Vitamin C can help prevent this damage that may otherwise harm fragile hair cells in the cochlea that are vital to the hearing process.
If you are looking to protect your hearing for the long term, speak to a hearing health professional that can recommend vitamins and minerals that will not only protect your health but your hearing for years to come.