Have You Taken Your “Ear Vitamins” Lately?

“How’s that?”… “I’m sorry, could you repeat it?”… “Come again?”

These are common expressions people use when they can’t hear what has been said to them. Some folks suffer hearing loss due to medical conditions. And rising degrees of noise pollution have caused about 10 million Americans to suffer noise-induced hearing loss.

But the good news is new research provides hope for an all-natural cure that may help prevent you from losing your hearing due to loud noise exposure!

Doctors and researchers at the University of Michigan Kresge Hearing Research Institute conducted animal experiments with a vitamin mixture that shows promise for preventing hearing loss caused by loud noises.

“Vitamins A, C and E and magnesium worked in synergy to prevent cell damage,” said Colleen G. Le Prell, Ph.D., the study’s lead author and a research investigator at the U-M Kresge Hearing Research Institute. Now researchers are testing whether humans could enjoy similar results.

According to a U-M statement, researchers developed the vitamin cocktail called AuraQuell™. It is administered in pill form to study participants and should be taken before a person is exposed to loud noises.

In earlier testing at U-M on guinea pigs, the combination of the four nutrients blocked about 80 percent of the noise-induced hearing impairment. Now, AuraQuell™ is being tested in a set of four multinational human clinical trials.

The new studies include military trials in Sweden and Spain, an industrial trial in Spain, and a trial involving students at the University of Florida in Gainesville. The students tested are those who listen to music—via earphones—at high volumes on their iPods or other personal music devices.

The Florida study is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It is the first NIH-funded clinical trial involving the prevention of noise-induced hearing loss.

Until about 10 years ago, scientists thought that vibrations from loud noise destroyed delicate structures in your inner ear. Later discoveries showed that loud noise boosts production of molecules that damage inner ear hair cells. When these cells are scarred, they cannot grow back.

The U-M researchers discovered that their vitamin combination can prevent noise-induced damage to the ears by blocking some of these cell reactions. If effective, this vitamin combo could help the 30 million Americans who regularly experience hazardous noise levels at work or home.

The study was published online by the Free Radical Biology and Medicine journal.