Though many people probably do not think about it much, your hearing health is as fundamental to your overall health and quality of life as diet, exercise, and proper rest. Your hearing health affects not only your physical safety immediately by situating you in your environment and regulating your sense of balance, it also impacts your emotional, psychological, and cognitive well-being. It is imperative that we each do everything that we can to guarantee our hearing health is operating at its peak potential.
Research has come to prove beyond a doubt that various vitamins, minerals, herbs, and dietary supplements reduce the risk of hearing loss and tinnitus.
Vitamins and minerals
Folate is a B vitamin essential to cell division and the creation of DNA. Folate is commonly found in nuts, beans, and vegetables, and many foods like bread and cereal are fortified with folic acid.
Other B vitamins, such as B6 and B12 have also been proven to make a positive difference in your hearing health.
Carotenoids are both an antioxidant and a provitamin. They are yellow, red, or orange and found in plants, fruits, grains, and oils.
Omega-3 fatty acids cannot be produced by your body, but only ingested from foods such as fish. They are essential to the functioning of various organs and systems in your body.
Zinc deficiencies can play a role in contributing to tinnitus. Stabilizing the amount of zinc in your system can help relieve the symptoms of tinnitus. But if you have tinnitus and have normal zinc levels, taking more zinc will not improve your condition.
Magnesium may also likely reduce the severity of tinnitus, but more research is needed before definitive conclusions can be drawn.
Other Herbal Remedies and Supplements
Vinpocetine (VPC) is used to counteract the effects of a wide variety of disorders such as memory loss, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. It is a synthetic derivative similar to the compound found in the periwinkle plant.
Ginseng has been used in China for centuries for all manner of health benefits and it is believed to not only reduce the symptoms of tinnitus, but even improve hearing loss.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an antioxidant your body makes on its own, but the amount of CoQ10 that your body produces diminishes with age. It is used to reduce blood pressure, treat migraines, and improve overall physical performance.
Ginkgo biloba is perhaps the most commonly used supplement in the world. It comes from a tree and is believed to improve almost every aspect of your body’s healthy functioning, including hearing.
Melatonin is the hormone that regulates your circadian clock, which determines the schedule and quality of your sleep. Tinnitus can make sleep difficult and not sleeping can increase the severity of tinnitus. Melatonin can help reduce the severity of this vicious circle.
But The Answer Is Never So Simple
While all of these vitamins, minerals, herbs, and supplements listed above are believed to help improve your hearing health, our bodies are complex systems and there is rarely a simple answer. Vitamin C, for example, is obviously very good for you in many ways, but too much vitamin C can actually have detrimental effects on your hearing health. And while supplements such as Ginkgo biloba, melatonin, or zinc can help a course of treatment, none of them would ever be enough on their own. There is no replacement for the guidance of a specialist to determine the exact treatment course most beneficial to your unique case.
In fact, many health care professionals recommend that people proceed with great caution when taking on a new supplement. Taken irresponsibly, and without the support of other intentional and foundational habits of a healthy lifestyle, supplements can actually do greater damage than good. The truth is right there in the word: supplement. These products are not replacements for other healthy lifestyle choices and proper medical treatment. They supplement it.
If you suspect that you, or someone you love, is developing some manner or another of hearing trouble, do not delay. Make an appointment with one of our specialists today to get a full exam. There is no replacement for the objective analysis such an exam will provide, no replacement for the skillful guidance of a specialist, and no good excuse to risk your overall quality of life by not taking immediate action.