Hearing : Ears Aided By Certain Antioxidants

Vitamin supplements can prevent hearing loss in laboratory animals, University of Florida researchers said.

The supplements used in the research are composed of antioxidants -- beta carotene and vitamins C and E -- and the mineral magnesium, senior author Colleen Le Prell of the University of Florida said.

When administered prior to exposure to loud noise, the supplements prevented both temporary and permanent hearing loss in test animals, the study said.

"What is appealing about this vitamin 'cocktail' is that previous studies in humans, including those demonstrating successful use of these supplements in protecting eye health, have shown that supplements of these particular vitamins are safe for long-term use," Le Prell said in a statement.

In one study, researchers gave guinea pigs the vitamin supplements prior to a four-hour exposure to noise at 110 decibels, similar to levels reached at a loud concert.

University of Florida, University of Michigan and OtoMedicine scientists assessed the animals' hearing by measuring sound-evoked neural activity and found that the treatment successfully prevented temporary hearing loss in the animals.

Repeated temporary hearing loss can lead to permanent hearing loss, and the scientists speculate that prevention of temporary changes may ultimately prevent permanent changes.

The findings were reported at the Association for Research in Otolaryngology's annual conference in Baltimore.

URL: www.upi.com

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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