Can Vitamins and Magnesium help with hearing loss?

Pills Pouring out of BottleThe rising trend of noise induced hearing loss is something that researchers and physicians at the University of Michigan Kresge Hearing Research Institute are hoping to reverse, with a cocktail of vitamins and the mineral magnesium that has shown promise as a possible way to prevent hearing loss caused by loud noises. The nutrients were successful in laboratory tests, and now researchers are testing whether humans will benefit as well.

The combination of vitamins A, C and E, plus magnesium, was given in pill form to patients who are participating in the research. Developed at the U-M Kresge Hearing Research Institute, the medication, called AuraQuell, is designed to be taken before a person is exposed to loud noises. In earlier testing at U-M on guinea pigs, the combination of the four micronutrients blocked about 80 percent of the noise-induced hearing impairment.

Now the medication is being tested in human clinical trials: military trials in Sweden and Spain, an industrial trial in Spain, and a trial involving students at the University of Florida who listen to music at high volumes on their iPods and other PDAs, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Until a decade ago, it was thought that noise damaged hearing by intense mechanical vibrations that destroyed the delicate structures of the inner ear. There was no intervention to protect the inner ear other than reducing then intensity of sound reaching it, such as ear plugs, which are not always effective. It was then discovered that noise caused intense metabolic activity in the inner ear and the production of molecules that damage the inner ear cells; and that allowed the discovery of an intervention to prevent these effects.

The military tests in the new study could be of particular importance because of the high number of soldiers who develop hearing loss in the line of duty, due to improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and other noises.

Hearing loss commonly occurs, when loud noises trigger the formation of molecules inside the ear and these molecules cause damage to the hair cells of the inner ear. The cells then shut down and scar, and they cannot grow back. The U-M researchers discovered that this new combination of vitamins, when mixed with magnesium, can prevent noise-induced damage to the ears by blocking some of these complex cellular reactions.

At Hidden Hearing, we’ll keep you updated on how the research goes.

Anybody who might be concerned about their hearing, can avail of a free hearing test at any Hidden Hearing branch nationwide. You can book a hearing test free of charge at any of Hidden Hearing’s 60 clinics nationwide. Freephone 1800 370 000 or visit


What’s the secret of healthy aging?

Is there a formula for healthy ageing that I can help my 76-year-old widowed dad implement to keep him well longer?


Researchers recently identified four healthy lifestyle factors that could go a long way toward reducing your father’s risk of contracting common and life-threatening diseases.  Those successful ageing practices are not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly and following a healthy diet.

Together, these four lifestyle attributes appear to be associated with as much as an 80 percent reduction in the risk of developing such diseases as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer, according to a report in Archives of Internal Medicine.

The article explains that cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes-chronic diseases, which account for many deaths, are largely preventable. “An impressive body of research has implicated modifiable lifestyle factors such as smoking, physical activity, diet and body weight in the causes of these diseases,” the authors write.

After adjusting for age, sex, education level and occupation, individuals with more healthy lifestyle factors were less likely to develop chronic diseases.  Participants who had all four healthy ageing factors at the beginning of the study had a 78 percent lower risk of developing any of the chronic diseases during the follow-up period than those who had none of the healthy factors.

Although it was not included in the study, companionship also is an important part of a senior’s healthy lifestyle.  Since your father is alone, make sure that he has the kind of meaningful social interaction that will help him continue to live an independent and healthy life.

That means encouraging him to participate in activities outside the home. These could include things like a bridge club or active seniors group or even learning a new skill. Some secondary schools look for interested local seniors to come into the school to be trained on using the internet by transition year students. Your local library may be a source of useful information on clubs and associations in your area.

If he’s not able to get out and about so easily consider ways of bringing the companionship to him. Does he have a few friends who could come to the house regularly? Try and find something that will appeal to his existing interests. If he loves his garden, perhaps some members of the local gardening club could drop by?

Seniors who are alone, particularly those who need help with the activities of daily living, are at risk of developing unhealthy lifestyle habits without this important support.


You can book a hearing test free of charge at any of Hidden Hearing’s 60 clinics nationwide. Freephone 1800 882884 or visit


Why allow hearing loss to lead to isolation?

Taking care of "little" health glitches now could slash your risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease later by 40 percent.

Hearing loss in older age has other repercussions beyond the sensory loss and beyond the individual. Those close to you start to get irritated with you. Some might stop talking to you altogether. As frustrating as it is for you it is also frustrating for friends and family members. Hearing is how we primarily communicate; talking on the phone, listening to the television or radio and how we communicate face-to-face. Loss of hearing primarily creates difficulties in communicating. It’s difficult to accept change, and many people will blame anything and everything before admitting that their hearing isn’t what it used to be. But one thing is certain: You need help.

Causes of late onset deafness are usually linked to diminished functionality in the middle ear. There are two primary causes for this degeneration. There is an erosion of the microscopic blood vessels in the middle ear that causes hearing loss but does not disproportionately affect the individual’s ability to hear and understand speech.

The second degeneration is caused by loss of the ear’s tiny “hair” cells – known clinically as presbycusis. Presbycusis can have a more serious affect on the ability to understand speech. Vital components of speech sounds, usually the higher pitched consonants – which define speech – become indistinguishable. It is for this reason that many people first have trouble in understanding women and children – and since men are more likely than women to have hearing impairment – this can and does create psychological friction. The lower pitched male voices are often easier to hear and comprehend. As hearing deteriorates the ability to understand speech becomes more severely affected.

Some people may have a genetic predisposition, while diet and lifestyle may also play a role. For example exposure to noise or pressure – as in diving and flying – in earlier life will hasten the onset of noticeable hearing loss. Other factors include osteoporosis, and some diuretic medications directly contribute to diminished hearing.

Intiga is the world’s smallest fully wireless hearing solution compared to behind-the-ear hearing solutions with binaural processing and streaming capabilities.

Vanity plays a major barrier to acknowledging our hearing is not what it used to be and asking for help. The alternatives are not sexy. Hearing aids have improved, but still are not a badge of youth. Successful aging is understanding the limitations and overcoming them. Aging is a privilege, showing that we have surmounted the barriers that life throws at us. Modern hearing aids have come a long way and new technology with invisible in the canal aids can take care of any vanity issues.

If you have any questions about hearing loss or hearing aids contact Hidden Hearing.

How can I prepare my mother for winter?

A series of articles by various writers on medical topics this one is by Edel Rooney.

With winter approaching, I’m worried about my 83-year-old mother.  She still enjoys an active lifestyle.  How can I help prepare her for the change in seasons so that she remains healthy all winter?


The first thing you should do is to make sure all of your mum’s doctor’s visits are up to date.  Find out if your mother could benefit from a flu shot by contacting her GP.  If your mother’s doctor recommends any special winter-weather regimen – like variations in diet or vitamins – remind your mother that it’s time to start observing those again.

As soon as the weather cools down, talk with your mother about the need to dress properly.  Several layers of loose-fitting clothing can help insulate the body by trapping warm, dry air inside.  Loosely woven cotton and wool clothes best trap air and resist dampness.

The head and neck are among the most vulnerable parts of the body when the weather cools down.  They lose heat faster than anywhere else.  Cheeks, ears and nose are the most prone to frostbite.  That’s why your mother should always be wearing a hat and scarf to protect her.

If the weather gets rainy or snowy where your mother lives, make sure that any outdoor repairs have been made.  Loose railings and cracked paths should be repaired well in advance of inclement weather.  Check inside too. Are there any draughty windows or doors that need to be repaired. If her house is large, suggest she closes off some rooms during the winter months to save on heating. Lock the windows, draw the curtains and check the ventilation grille is clear before putting a draught excluder at the door and closing it up until the warmer weather returns.

Ice is a big danger so make sure you, or someone else, is on stand-by to automatically pop over to your mum’s house if there is a frosty night. Get them to check the steps and/or path outside her door and if necessary salt the path at night to prevent ice build up. If she has steps outside consider adding a safety handrail.

Eating properly is important too. It can be all too easy to start relying on convenience foods, particularly if the weather outside doesn’t make you want to go out. So make sure your mum has plenty of healthy staples in her cupboards. Soup is ideal and easy to prepare as well as being warming. If your mum isn’t up to cooking for herself you could leave a flask of hot soup available to get her through the day or check if a local Meals-on-Wheels service is available in her area. Encourage her to take regular hot drinks too to keep her hydration and temperature levels up.

It may be time for your mother to have a little extra help to ensure her safety, especially in the winter.  Home helpers and companions can assist your mum with errands and shopping when the weather is bad and she doesn’t want to get out.  They can become trusted friends as well as assistants for seniors like your mum.  It’ll also give you peace of mind to know there’s someone keeping a regular eye on her when you can’t be there.

Thank you Offaly for the Free screenings!

As seen in the Offaly Express Hidden Hearing is offering free hearing screenings to Offaly senior citizens throughout Positive Ageing Week (September 23 to October 1). The free screenings will be available at The Medical Centre, Greenfields, Clonminch Road, Tullamore,


It is estimated that hearing loss affects almost a third of Irish people over the age of 60. Hidden Hearing Marketing Manager, Dolores Madden said, “The key issue is that those who initially notice a problem with their hearing do not take action. In our experience, this is particularly the case when it comes to senior citizens. We hope by offering free screenings it will make it easier for them to take the first step in tackling their hearing loss.”

Hearing loss is an uncomfortable topic for many with over half of sufferers going to great lengths to hide their condition by pretending to hear what people said to them during conversation.

“Our senior citizens need to be encouraged to value and take care of their hearing. It’s important that if you notice issues with your hearing that you address the problem and take positive action,” added Ms Madden.

Are ailing elderly people such a threat to Airline Security?

This article from the Calgary Herald makes a very good point. Ailing senior presented no threat to airline security.

By Hilary Argento, Calgary Herald

Wednesday morning, I took my parents to the airport. I watched them go through security so I could wave goodbye.

My dad will be 81 next week, has hearing aids in both ears, braces on both ankles and walks with a cane. I watched with growing anger as security made him walk through the scanner without his cane and then made him stand with his arms out as they wanded him and patted him down for three minutes.

Airport security should be more aware of elderly people

He has trouble with his balance since the nerves in his feet have deteriorated and he cannot stand upright unassisted. He has had a knee replacement which sets off the scanner, but I am not sure how much of a threat my elderly dad would constitute on a plane. The most damage he could cause is if he lost his balance and fell on a flight attendant.

It is time that common sense was brought into our security measures. No one is safer on a plane because some seniors have been thoroughly searched and made to stumble through the scanner without their canes.

The time and effort it took the security person to search my dad could have been used to better effect elsewhere.

Hilary Argento, Calgary

Read more:

If you have a hearing loss you may not pass some other medical tests

Study Shows Poor Hearing May Cause False-Positive Results on Cognitive Tests

If you’re going to take your elderly parents in for a memory checkup, you may want to have their hearing tested first.

So suggest researchers who found that a substantial number of people may have false-positive results on cognitive tests designed to detect dementia due to undiagnosed hearing problems.

“A hearing test should be imperative prior to cognitive testing,” says study researcher Michael Lerch, MD, of Diakonia Mark-Ruhr Hospital in Hagen, Germany.

Hearing problems can be overlooked, especially if they are mild, says William Thies, PhD, chief medical and scientific officer at the Alzheimer’s Association.

“Just missing one word can distinctly affect performance on a cognitive test, particularly if it’s done in a hurried fashion,” he tells WebMD.

Thies’ advice: If dementia is suspected, make sure cognitive testing is performed by a doctor with experience treating Alzheimer’s disease patients.

Hearing Loss and Dementia

It’s not uncommon for hearing loss and dementia to coexist, Lerch says. One in eight people over age 65 have dementia. And more than half of people over age 70 have hearing loss, he says.

The new study involved 1,600 patients in a geriatric practice. About 900 had scores suggestive of dementia on the Mini-Mental State Exam, a brief test of cognitive skills, including attention span and memory. Then, patients underwent hearing testing, with treatment if needed.

One-third of those with possible dementia were found to have a relevant hearing impairment and showed an improvement in cognitive testing results after treatment, Lerner reports.

The findings were presented here at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2011.

About 5.4 million Americans and 35 million people worldwide have Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia.

These findings were presented at a medical conference. They should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the “peer review” process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.

By Charlene Laino
WebMD Health News

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

If you have any questions about hearing loss contact Hidden Hearing