Say What?

July 21, 2010

200356230-001Hearing loss increasingly impacts young people.

Approximately 36 million adults and half a million children in the United States have trouble hearing. And according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), 26 million Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 have hearing loss caused by loud noises.

Everything from loud toys and video games in childhood, iPods and rock concerts in adolescence, workplace noise and recreational choices—ranging from the club scene to hunting or riding a motorcycle—in adulthood can cause irreversible hearing loss.

Just going to a noisy sporting event—think World Cup—can make you hard of hearing afterwards. No wonder that more than half the people with hearing loss are under 65!

New research suggests that non-auditory factors can also lead to hearing impairment. For example, a study in the current issue of the journal Noise Health shows that cigarette smoking aggravates noise-induced hearing impairment. Heredity plays a role, as does something as simple as earwax blockage.

In addition, population-based studies link diabetes with hearing impairment. A recent look at data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey specifically shows that diabetic factors relating to blood vessel damage, high blood sugar, inflammation, and neuropathy can increase loss of hearing.

While gradual hearing loss (prebyscusis) increases with age, younger people are clearly at risk. Three out of four preschoolers experience ear infections (otitis media) that impact language development at critical stages. From the tweens on, kids are plugged in to loud music.

Men are more likely to experience loss of hearing than women. But the risk for tinnitus (ringing in the ears) is slightly more common among older women than men.

Dr. Ann Louise’s Take:

It’s an increasingly noisy world out there! And no one wants to lose the ability to hear.

The sound of heavy traffic, a power lawn mower, chain saw, hand drill, and even your hair dryer put you in the risk range for hearing loss, while an ambulance siren or iPod shuffle can cause real injury. An Australian survey finds that 25% of people using portable stereos had daily noise levels high enough to damage hearing.

Approximately 30 million Americans are regularly exposed to dangerous noise levels, according to the NIDCD. Noise protection—like earplugs—helps but is obviously not enough.

Dietary Support
The good news is that studies show nutrition also helps protect against deafness. Recent research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition finds that increasing intake of omega-3 fatty acids—equal to two servings of deep-water fish a week—can reduce age-related hearing loss as much as 42% in older people.

For daily protection, I like Super EPA, a purified fish oil rich in omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. Unlike fish, this marine lipid concentrate is free from heavy metals and PCBs.

University of Michigan scientists also find that a combination of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E, with magnesium—taken an hour before exposure to noise and continued daily for the next 5 days—effectively prevented noise-induced hearing loss in animals. “Vitamins A, C, and E, and magnesium worked in synergy to prevent cell damage,” says study author Colleen G. Le Prell, PhD.

Other animal research shows that oxidative stress plays a role in age-related auditory dysfunction too. In addition to the antioxidants combined in your daily Female Multiple and Male Multiple, I recommend taking 1 to 3 capsules of Oxi-Key daily.

An extra 400 mg of Magnesium per day can be useful for some individuals. Not only can this essential mineral help protect your hearing, but it is also involved in over 350 metabolic processes. I find most people are deficient in this calming anti-stress mineral.

Last but never least, vitamin D—so critical to strong bones—is also involved in hearing loss. When the tiny bones in the ear become demineralized and porous, deafness can occur. Because so many Americans are deficient in the “sunshine vitamin,” I’ve increased the amount of vitamin D in both the Female Multiple and Male Multiple.


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Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Jan

    Is this why Teens never hear anything their parents say?

  2. Joel

    Lol Jan! No, I think that is more arrogant indifference.

  3. Administrator

    Or cognitive dissonance.


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