There are plenty of things that change about our bodies over time. The dramatic shift of puberty is what most people will instantly think of, but in truth our bodies never really stop changing. Each year brings another subtle shift in how things work. Even the seasons bring their own changes to our body. There is relatively little anxiety around these changes though. That changes as we get older. The changes age brings with it include outright loss or disruption to the senses we rely on to interact with and enjoy the world. Diminishing sight and hearing are worrying things for anyone to need to face and most of us have to face them eventually. It makes perfect sense we’d look for ways to protect ourselves from these problems. There is a lot of chatter lately about the potential of vitamins for hearing loss. The real question here is whether there is anything to that idea or if we’re simply hearing the wind outside and assuming it must make sense.
The Big Three
Interestingly enough, there are actual vitamins that appear to have a cushioning effect when it comes to hearing loss. It turns out that vitamins A, C, and E are not just good for anti-aging skincare, but also potentially useful for helping defend your hearing. The key here is that these three vitamins are also antioxidants in some of their forms. That is what scientists believe has the protective effect by comparison to the vitamins as a whole. It led some researchers to investigate antioxidants in general as a way to protect our hearing. The results were less than optimal though. Only a few kinds of antioxidants were actually useful for helping to maintain hearing. Additionally, the effect wasn’t perfect without the addition of another element: magnesium. It turns out that the mineral may actually be the heavy lifter when it comes to helping to cushion our hearing against damage.
While it isn’t quite a vitamin, magnesium is a common enough ingredient in healthcare that most of us have encountered it more than once. Most of the time we tend to encounter it when trying to quiet our stomachs though. After all, milk of magnesia has been good for treating the stomach for generations even if we generally reach for particular name brand medicines. Proper dosing of magnesium does appear to have an apparent effect when it comes to protecting our hearing though. The effect is noticeable both when paired with vitamins A, C, and E and when the magnesium is used on its own. There is a caveat to the potential usefulness of these compounds though that means it likely isn’t what any of us a truly looking for: all these compounds are strictly good in the face of hearing loss from exposure to a loud noise and sudden hearing loss.
Hearing loss, it turns out, is harder to prevent than we’d like to think. All known effective treatments are, in essence, good for rapid forms of hearing loss rather than gradual loss over time. They appear to act as a minor buffer and boost to healing in the initial aftermath, but aren’t good for healing the damage that has already been done. This makes them less than useful for fighting off the potential long term hearing loss associated with aging. We have to take the usual precautions to help ensure that any hearing loss we experience is comparatively minimal and doesn’t grow over time. Remember to wear ear protection when you know you’ll be exposed to large noises and don’t turn up things like music too loudly. Just because your headphones let you enjoy your music at high volume without disturbing others doesn’t mean you should turn it up too loud. Talk to your doctor about other habits and lifestyle changes you can make to preserve your hearing as well.
Protecting your hearing over the long term isn’t as easy as taking a pill. We know of only a handful of actual vitamins and minerals that can protect against hearing loss or help one recover from it, but they are all good for pronounced damage and loss that happens all at once. Many other ingredients claim to be useful, but the evidence for them is distinctly lacking. The sad truth is that we all need to focus on cultivating good habits if we want to ensure we keep our hearing healthy across our entire lives.