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Hearing Loss appears to be prevented and treated with vitamin D

By getting stronger ear bones

Brought my 98-year-old father-in-law to an audiologist yesterday (Oct 19, 2010) to try out some new hearing aids, and I realized that his hearing had improved recently. He has been taking 10,000 IU of vitamin D and co-factors by Jarrow of Calcium, Magnesium, vitamin K2, etc for the past 9 months.
Wondered if there was a correlation.

Using Google, I found that hearing-loss "vitamin D” resulted in 270,000 hits

http://www.naturalnews.com/026834_hearing_loss_magnesium_Vitamin_D.html Prevent and Even Reverse Age-Related Hearing Loss with Good Nutrition Aug 2009, by Kerri Knox clip: When vitamin D deficiency causes osteopenia in the tiny bones of the ears, this can lead to hearing loss and even deafness. Strikingly, correcting the vitamin D deficiency often corrects hearing loss and even deafness in these specific cases.
She also describes Magnesium "Magnesium treatment has been repeatedly shown link building service to reduce the incidence of both temporary and permanent noise-induced hearing loss.”

http://www.innvista.com/health/ailments/earail/hearnutr.htm “Hearing and Nutrition” talks about many vitamins and minerals, and has this today about vitamin D. “As far as hearing is concerned, a deficiency in this vitamin has serious consequences and has been associated with otosclerosis (abnormal bone growth in the middle ear), unexplained and bilateral cochlear deafness, presbycusis, and sensorineural hearing loss. Researchers had to conclude that vitamin D deficiency is likely one of the causes, and supplementation should be considered in persons with hearing loss. Vitamin D can be inhibited if there is also a magnesium deficiency. If there is a magnesium deficiency, this will also affect calcium intake. As you can see, not just one nutrient can be isolated as a cause or cure. “

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0ISW/is_282/ai_n19170311/ Take control of your hearing loss before it's too late. Dr. Jonathan V. Wright wrote the extensive article of Jan 2007 in Townsend Letter for Doctors. Clip – – “Years ago, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a brief article reporting that vitamin D supplementation slowed hearing loss. Since then, research findings have been conflicting, with some reporting significant vitamin D deficiency (1-2) and others not. (3) I've advised individuals with age-related hearing loss to use at least 3,000 to 4,000 IU daily, but the results have been mixed.”

http://www.ehow.com/how_2122698_reverse-hearing-loss-naturally.html How to Reverse Hearing Loss Naturally: clip – – Get enough vitamin D in your diet in order to reverse hearing loss naturally. If you don't have enough vitamin D in your system, this causes insufficient amounts of calcium in the inner ear's fluid. If you don't have enough calcium, the small bones of the inner ear become spongy. This spongy state interferes with sound transmission.

http://www.reeis.usda.gov/web/crisprojectpages/189531.html 2003 study at the Univ. of Georgia: VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY AND AUDITORY FUNCTION OF GENETICALLY DISORDERED MICE. An interesting study of vitamin D and Calcium for mice, pregnant mice, and offspring.

Hypothesis: Lack of vitamin D is one of the causes of hearing loss with age as well as osteoporosis

One of the reasons for deafness with age is the lack of vitamin D weakening of all bones, including those in the ear. Unless an older person is getting many hours of sunshine daily or taking vitamin D supplements, the vitamin D levels are known to decline greatly. The skin produces less than 1/3 as much vitamin D per minute for an older person due to a lack of pre-vitamin D in the skin. So the lack of vitamin D, which weakens the bones and causes hip fractures, etc., also weakens the bones in the ear, which are vital for hearing.

It will be interesting to find out of other populations low on vitamin D also have problems with hearing loss.
From Criteria for vitamin D deficiency in VitaminDWiki

  1. Overweight
  2. Age -
  3. Smoking - ties up vitamin D
  4. Alcohol
  5. Stress
  6. Medical problems which reduce vitamin D - MS, kidney, gut, liver, kidney...
  7. Dark skin -
  8. Taking a drug that reduces vitamin D
  9. Live far from the equator

But, one report shows people with dark skin have LESS hearing loss with age.

Clip - The prevalence of self-reported hearing impairment not only varies by race but also by ethnicity. For example, the 1999 National Health Interview Survey (Pleis & Coles, 2003) found that adults of Asian and African descent were less likely to experience hearing problems (7.8% and 7.4%, respectively) than Whites or Native Americans (17.2 and 20.1, respectively). Whereas 15% of non-Hispanic White adults reported some form of hearing difficulty, 6% of non-Hispanic Black adults and 6% of Hispanic White adults reported hearing problems.

Presbycusis clips from Wikipedia

age-related hearing loss is the cumulative effect of aging on hearing. Also known as presbyacusis, it is defined as a progressive bilateral symmetrical age-related sensorineural hearing loss.
Factors responsible for presbycusis include: (no mention of vitamin D)

  • Heredity: Features like early aging of the cochlea and susceptibility of the cochlea to drug insults are genetically determined.
  • Atherosclerosis: This may diminish the vascularity of the cochlea, thereby reducing its oxygen supply.
  • Dietary habits: Increased saturated fat intake may accelerate atherosclerotic changes in old age.
  • Diabetes: This may cause vasculitis and endothelial proliferation in the blood vessels of the cochlea, thereby reducing its blood supply.
  • Noise trauma: Exposure to loud noise/music on a continuing basis stresses the already hypoxic cochlea, hastening the presbycusis.
  • Smoking: Is postulated to accentuate atherosclerotic changes in blood vessels aggravating presbycusis.
  • Hypertension: Causes potent vascular changes, like reduced blood supply to the cochlea, thereby aggravating presbycusis.
  • Ototoxic drugs: Ingestion of ototoxic drugs like aspirin may hasten the process of presbycusis.

Search for ototoxic "vitamin D" in Google and got 197,000 hits

Search for hearing-loss osteoporosis on Google got 498,000 hits

Osteoporosis and Conductive Hearing Loss: A Novel Model of Clinical Correlation, which did find a correlation in Jan 2009

Search for hearing-loss bone-loss in Google got 320,000 hits

Hearing loss risk spikes 34 percent without key vitamin Folic acid
Age-Related Hearing Loss does NOT have to be Part of Getting Old Kerri Knox again; unknown date

Update April 2012

My father-in-law is almost 100 and is doing very well.
His hearing continues to be much better than a few years ago.
He continues to take 10,000 IU of vitamin D daily along with 3 Bone-Up co-factor pills by Jarrow.
   Note: The increased Magnesium in the co-factors could have also helped. Magnesium is known to help hearing.
CLICK HERE to see low-cost ways to help seniors with poor vision
His vision may be improving as well - vitamin D and astaxanthin (anti-oxidant)

A few other health improvements

  1. Air filter with UVC lamp to kill the flu virus
  2. Power recliner which elevates his feet above his heart
  3. His daily stretching exercises

Glancing at the Internet April 2012 concerning hearing loss and vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency is a new cause of cochlear deafness.

J Laryngol Otol. 1983 May;97(5):405-20.
Brookes GB. PMID: 6602194
Ten patients are reported with bilateral cochlear deafness, which was associated with vitamin D deficiency.
The features of these cases are discussed following an overview of the clinical aspects and diagnosis of vitamin D deficiency.
The most likely pathogenesis is localized demineralization of the cochlea resulting in secondary morphological changes.
Replacement therapy resulted in unilateral hearing improvement in two of the four patients whose response to treatment could be assessed.
This suggests a previously unrecognized causal correlation between vitamin D deficiency and cochlear deafness.
Impaired vitamin D activity may be important in the etiology of otosclerosis, presbyacusis, and the deafness associated with chronic renal failure.
Vitamin D deficiency should be considered when diagnosing unexplained bilateral cochlear deafness.
It is important, as this 'new' metabolic type of sensorineural deafness may be reversible and may also lead to the diagnosis of early osteomalacia before more serious generalized skeletal symptoms can occur.

Vitamin D deficiency and deafness: 1985 update.

Brookes GB. Am J Otol. 1985 Jan;6(1):102-7.
Vitamin D deficiency has been diagnosed in 27 patients with bilateral deafness in a period of just over 3 years. It should be considered in the differential diagnosis of unexplained bilateral cochlear deafness and may be important in the origin of some cases of otosclerosis, presbyacusis, and the deafness associated with chronic renal failure. Treatment should prevent progressive hearing loss, which may occasionally be partly reversible, and the development of clinical osteomalacia with more generalized skeletal symptoms.
PMID: 3976850

Vitamin D deficiency and otosclerosis.

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1985 Jun;93(3):313-21.
Brookes GB.
A prospective study of 47 patients with otosclerosis was undertaken to investigate the possible etiologic role of vitamin D undernutrition. The population comprised 27 women and 20 men, with a mean age of 46.4 years (range 21 to 79). The disease was bilateral in 43 patients; cochlear involvement was present in 84.4%. The mean duration of symptoms was 17.1 years. Vitamin D status was evaluated by measuring the plasma 25-hydroxy vitamin D3 (25-OHD), which is the main storage metabolite. Abnormally low 25-OHD levels were found in 10 patients (21.7%) and borderline low levels in another two. Raised serum alkaline phosphatase levels were present in 32.6%, calcium in 6.5%, and inorganic phosphate in 4.3%. Calcium and vitamin D replacement therapy resulted in significant hearing improvement in 3 of 16 patients; these data support a causal correlation. Vitamin D deficiency is probably a factor in the etiology of some cases of otosclerosis and is important since the deafness resulting from cochlear involvement may be reversible.
PMID: 3927224

Handbook of Clinical Nutrition and Aging (2004) has the following

Vitamin D deficiency may cause disruption of the calcium concentration in the essential fluids, hair cells, and nervous tissue of the inner ear.
Calcium-binding proteins, such as parvalbumin and calbindin. Are present in auditory nervous tissue.
The endolymph. Perilymph and industrial fluids of the cochlea each have a unique ionic composition that must be maintained for proper auditory function (51).
The intracellular concentration of free calcium (Ca*2) modulates inner ear and hair cell function.
Inner ear Ca*2 concentration influences pH. Protein phosphorylation, cell volume regulation, and neurotransmitter release; thus, alterations in intracellular Ca*2 concentrations may disrupt the inner ear and might be associated with otologic damage in many inner ear disorders (43,46.51).
Alterations in intracellular Ca*2 concentrations could damage the inner ear because excess Ca*2 is linked to excessive free radical production and membrane damage. DNA fragmentation and, ultimately, Ca*2-mediated cell death (51). With increasing age. The central auditory system may have altered calcium homeostasis (44). Dietary factors, such as vitamin D deficiency, have been associated with cochlear dysfunction and disruption in calcium homeostasis in the cochlea of rats (45).

A variety of approaches have been used to investigate vitamin D and auditory function:

  • Vitamin D-depletion studies in rats (45.52):
  • Supplementation with vitamin D and other nutrients in people with poor vitamin D status and hearing loss (conductive deafness, cochlear deafness, otosclerosis, chronic suppurative otitis media. Meniere's disease, early progressive sensorineural hearing loss, senile deafness, noise exposure) (53-58);
  • Examination of populations with metabolic disorders associated with impaired calcium and/or vitamin D status (metabolic bone disease, hyperparathyroidism, or abnormal blood indices of calcium, phosphate, or alkaline phosphatase) (58.59):
  • Assessment of vitamin D status in case-control studies comparing hearing impaired vs. normal hearing older adults (22.30.60).

Although these studies provide some evidence that vitamin D status is associated with auditory dysfunction, they have several weaknesses and limitations. Limitations in the animal studies included incomplete information on dietary formulation and composition; the strong possibility that control and experimental diets differed in composition and lacked other essential nutrients; limited information on food intake, body weight, and body weight gain; and lack of biochemical confirmation of nutrient deficiencies. Also, one of the earliest studies on nutritional deficiencies and hearing loss in animals was published in 1940 (52) before some essential nutrients were discovered, and the methods used to assess auditory function were less sophisticated than those available today.

Life Extension Disease Prevention & Treatment 4th Edition (2003)

"Vitamin D The possible role of vitamin D deficiency in otosclerosis (abnormal bone growth in the inner ear), unexplained cochlear deafness, presbycusis, bilateral cochlear deafness, and bilateral sensorineural hearing loss has been the subject of scientific studies (Brookes 1983, 1985a,b; Ikeda et al. 1989). These researchers concluded that vitamin D deficiency is likely one of the causal factors in some cases of otosclerosis, cochlear deafness, and presbycusis. According to Brookes (1983; 1985a,b) and Ikeda et al. (1989), vitamin D deficiency should be considered in persons with hearing loss."

Vertigo treated by Vitamin D - many studies show Vertigo is strongly associated with hearing loss.

Update May 2014

See also VitaminDWiki

  • Ear category listing has 17 items

Items in both categories Ear and Seniors: