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Supplements for Better Hearing

By Owen Pearson

Hearing problems are common in people of all ages. According to the Family Doctor website, the causes of hearing problems are varied. Some problems, such as excessive earwax, can be simply resolved with mineral oil or water flushing. Other problems, such as hearing loss caused by age, exposure to loud noises, tumors or medications, are more serious. Some researchers and alternative medicine practitioners believe that supplements may aid in the prevention of hearing loss and restoration of hearing. Supplements are not intended as replacements for traditional medical treatment. Check with your doctor if you plan to use supplements to support your hearing.

Alpha Lipoic Acid

According to Health Care Laboratories, alpha lipoic acid may help reverse hearing loss caused by a class of antibiotics called aminoglycosides. Some people who take these antibiotics experience damage of the cochlear ear tissue. One aminoglycoside, called gentamicin, is commonly used to treat urinary tract and cornea infections. This antibiotic is thought to speed the formation of free radicals, which may induce cochlear tissue damage. Alpha lipoic acid may help reverse hearing loss associated with the use of aminoglycosides. It may also help improve hearing in people with noise-related damage. It has not been proven that alpha lipoic acid reverses hearing-related damage. Check with your physician before taking this supplement to support your hearing.

Acetyl L-Carnitine

Acetyl L-carnitine is known in the medical community for its ability to slow age-related deterioration of brain cells and protect the brain against stress. According to Health Care Laboratories, acetyl L-carnitine may help protect brain receptors that receive and interpret sound waves. It is also thought to improve the transmission of signals from the hair cells of the cochlea to the receptor cells of the brain. As a result, this supplement may help improve hearing thresholds in both low and high frequencies. Consult your doctor before taking acetyl L-carnitine to help reverse hearing loss.


Vinpocetine is a variant of vincamine, which is an alkaoid derived from the periwinkle plant. This supplement is thought to improve the flow of blood to the brain, and to enhance the ability of the brain's neurons to consume glucose and oxygen. Like alpha lipoic acid, vinpocetine is thought to help prevent damage caused by the use of antibiotics, particularly those used to treat strep and staph infections. It has also been used to treat tinnitus, or ringing of the ears. According to Health Care Laboratories, some researchers believe that vinpocetine activates the cognitive power of locus coeruleus neurons, which naturally deteriorate with age. This effect is thought to enhance the brain's ability to receive and interpret signals from the cochleal hair cells. Talk to your doctor before taking vinpocetine to prevent hearing loss.

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