by DR, ARTHUR M. ECHANO MD, ND, MACNEM, D.HOM.I.
“The Coconut Doctor Down Under”
How would you feel if a hearing test reveals that you have some degree of hearing loss? Most likely, you will conclude that nothing can be done to restore your hearing to its former state. I had the same reasoning when an audiometry reading 30 years ago showed that I had some hearing problem.
The worse part of it was that I got the message that there was nothing that I could take orally, medication or herbal/nutritional preparation to at least slow it down (hearing loss). I assumed that I had to live with the idea that as time goes by, my hearing problem would deteriorate. Frankly, I don’t know whether my hearing loss is worse today than it was 30 years ago when it was first tested at MEPS Oakland, USA but I can assure you that without any intervention, the future for me is that of more hearing loss.
So why do we lose our hearing acuity? Our inner ear is made up of two main parts, the cochlea and the vestibular system. Cochlea is for hearing while the vestibular system (semicircular canals and otolith organs) is responsible for balance. Our cochlea has about 15,000 tiny hair cells that over time are damaged by exposure to high decibel sounds. Other possible reasons for hearing impairment are recurrent ear infections, circulation problems, high blood pressure, trauma, ototoxic medications and free radical damage.
The main cause though of hearing loss is loud noise. My brother used to work as a DJ when he was a teenager and I was worried that one day his hearing might be affected by constant exposure to loud music. When we had a family reunion in 2012, her wife told me that she had to send him for a hearing test because she had to repeat herself to him constantly and it was just a frustrating experience. He now wears a hearing aid.
The good news is that scientists have now recognized the role of nutritional medicine in the prevention and restoration of hearing loss. If you are kind of surprised with this news, you are not alone. In an health article, “Can You Restore Your hearing by Taking Nutrients?”, Dr. Robert J. Rowen, MD made the statement that “Most doctors don’t think nutrition has anything to do with hearing loss. But several new studies show just how important nutrition is to your ears —and how some people are actually reversing their hearing loss. Together, these compounds (nutrients) restore damaged hair cells, increase circulation to your ears, silence ringing and buzzing, improve auditory nerve function, and even repair noise-induced hearing loss”.
That is definitely a bold statement. I haven’t heard anything like this before with regard to restoration of hearing impairment. I thought that once you have lost your hearing, it is gone for good. Does Dr. Rowen have the credentials to make this surprising declaration? It looks like he is qualified to say something about hearing restoration through nutritional medicine. Here is his background:
Dr. Rowen’s undergraduate education (Bachelor of Science) was at Johns Hopkins University. He completed his medical degree from University of California San Francisco School of Medicine. At one time, he was chairman of the American College of Advancement in Medicine (ACAM) oxidative medicine workshop. He also served on Alaska’s State Medical Board. As you may have noticed, he is not your fly-by-night health care practitioner. He knows integrative medicine and is a major promoter of natural medicine to his patients.
So what did Dr. Rowen do for those with history of hearing loss? Well, he designed a nutritional preparation called Advanced Hearing Formula. How do this formulation helps those who have hearing impairment? According to Dr. Rowen, “It includes the top 5 recommended hearing boosters: N-acetyl cysteine, Alpha lipoic acid, Acetyl-l-carnitine, gingko and luteolin. And if it included just these 5 nutrients, it would be one of the best formulations on the market. But to give your ears the full range of nutritional power they need, we included 10 more hearing superstars! They work perfectly together to help restore hearing loss, repair nerve damage, boost ear and hearing health, and much more.”
What we have here is one of the most complete combinations of hearing-boosting nutritional supplements. According to Dr. Rowen, there are five major ways in which Advanced Hearing Formula can make your hearing better:
“1.It increases circulation to the tiny bold vessels and capillaries of the inner ear. When your ears receive the blood, oxygen and nutrition they need, your hearing improves.
2. It relieves ringing, buzzing and whistling in your ears. Ringing and whistling in your ear is not only maddening- it also affects your concentration, job performance, and normal conversation. Advanced Hearing Formula contains targeted nutrients that help you enjoy peace and quiet again.
3. It repairs the free radical damage in your inner ear and auditory nerves. Free radical overrun is the leading cause of hearing loss as you get older.
4. It improves both the range and volume of your hearing. Life is so much better if you can hear every whisper.
5. It eases inflammation and fluid build-up that causes vertigo, loss of balance and gradual hearing loss.”
Once again, the role of anti-oxidation (protection from free radical damage) is highlighted. This time, it is the shielding of the tiny hair cells in the inner ear (cochlea) from oxidants (free radicals). No wonder then that Dr. Rowen has chosen N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), alpha lipoic acid and acetyl-l-carnitine as three of the top 5 ingredients in his formulation. NAC helps boost the production of gluthathione, an important antixodant (free radical scavenger) in the body. Alpha lipoic acid is an antioxidant itself that is both water-soluble and fat-soluble which means that it can act as a free radical scavenger in most tissues of the body including cells in the ear. Acetyl-l-carnitine is involved in energy production which every cell (ear cells) needs (normal mitochondrial function).
So if you are gradually losing your sense of hearing, don’t lose hope. Nutritional formulations like the one made by Dr. Rowen (Advanced Hearing Formula) may help in preventing the rapid decline of our hearing. By protecting our inner ear cells from free radical damage and gradually restoring hearing acuity, we may be able to once again listen to our favourite music without the need of turning the volume to the maximum level.