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Can You Hear Me Now?

sanjosex:animal salvatgeMany people have asked me for ideas about reducing or alleviating the ringing in their ears, a condition known as Tinnitus.  This form of hearing loss can be most disturbing as it comes in the form of low level ringing, buzzing, or hissing to very loud and debilitating roars.    Our ears are complex structures radiating the sounds we experience through hairs inside the ear canal that send impulses to the brain for interpretation.  Damage through physical trauma, loud noises from intermittent or chronic exposures, earwax buildup possibly from improper ear cleaning, allergies or food sensitivities, inflammation, aging, or hereditary factors may be the precipitators of hearing loss.

In children it becomes extremely important to address ear infections especially if they become chronic as this creates damage over time that could lead to hearing loss.  When children experience hearing loss, they often do poorly in school or with social relationships due to not being able to adequately interpret their lessons or conversations.  Research today reports about half of the current hearing loss statistics comes from young people.  We see our youths going through their daily activities with their earbuds tightly pressed into their ears.  Oftentimes we can hear their music while standing a few feet away, a clear indication of the potential damage to their eardrums.

As a nutritionist, I researched what might be underlying nutritional deficiencies potentiating hearing loss and found several conditions as contributers.  Diets high in saturated fats, high cholesterol, impaired carbohydrate metabolism (generally from a high sugar diet), electrolyte imbalances, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and food sensitivities all have been associated with hearing loss.

Poor diet often leads to chronic low grade inflammation.  We may not overtly experience a sense of inflammation (soreness, redness, heat, pain) but internally inflammation may be occurring.  This places a strain on the lymphatic system and the liver to detoxify.

Reducing saturated fats, sodium, and sugar often reduces or alleviates symptoms.  Checking nutrient levels through annual blood work becomes important information in addressing hearing loss. The cochlea in the inner ear requires Vitamin A to properly function and send those signals to the brain.  Vitamin E is necessary to support and protect Vitamin A.  B-complex vitamins insure digestive balance along with Vitamin D3.  Minerals provide the electrical pathways for nerve transmission along with many other functions.  Important in hearing health is magnesium, potassium, and zinc.  The cochlea and vestibule in our inner ears require zinc.  When adequate, tinnitus often subsides.

It is important not to use cotton swabs to clear ears of wax.  These can push wax deeper into the ear canal.  A better choice would be to mix 1 part vinegar with 1 part warm water and flush out the ear canals.  For hard wax buildup, you could use garlic oil, drop into ears for a day or two, then flush with lots of warm water.

Cleaning our ears properly, improving our diets, taking our vitamins and minerals, and reducing our noise pollution exposures will improve our hearing and enjoyment of each other.

Krystle Shapiro, LMT, MSHN owns Touchstone Massage Therapy and Nutrition Plus!  She can be reached at 208/290-6760.

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