Another “everybody knows” that has not withstood the light of scrutiny is the myth that as you age you are going to lose your hearing. It is not, according to recent research necessarily true and is certainly not inevitable. New research strongly suggests that hearing loss could be preventable by eating an antioxidant rich diet or by taking antioxidant supplements.
According to the National Health Survey Hearing loss affects, for example, more than 40% of people in the US over the age of 65 and is the most common sensory disorder among older people. It is expected to be a problem for at least 28 million older Americans by 2030. This all sounds pretty grim and certainly the statistics seem to say that hearing loss and old age are inexorably linked.
Physiologically the decline of hearing acuity in later life involves the death of nerves, hair and membrane cells inside the inner ear. These hair and nerve cells thought to be unable to regenerate. Once they are gone, like teeth, they are gone and there is no getting them -and the consequent lost hearing – back.
It has until recently been assumed – and the assumption taken on the mantle of a fact – that the mere act of living into and beyond middle age causes these hearing loss. But is it true? Well, no it isn’t. At least this is what is strongly suggested by findings recently published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The evidence suggests that antioxidants protect us against hearing loss.
Researchers in the University of Florida (UF), and scientists from the University of Wisconsin and several other institutions, have identified a protein that appears to be responsible for oxidative damage to cells that results in hearing loss.
We already know that the ravages of oxidative damage can be protected against or repaired using antioxidant therapies or by making foods rich in antioxidants a central plank of your diet. This then opens the door to potentially preventing or even treating hearing decline as we grow older.