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To: Tinnitus  

[Hearing Issues | Anatomy of the Human Ear | Miracle of Hearing]
[Drugs Which May Affect Hearing | Aging | Diet | Science]
[Supplements | Exercises | Yoga | Daily Exercises | Additional Tips ]
[Dr. Bob Martin | References]

adapted from the article by Dr. Bob Martin

Hearing Issues
Most of us take hearing for granted until we have hearing challenges ourselves. Hearing is the 2nd most common health concern (behind healthy heart concerns) for millions of Americans today.1 Projections indicate that the number of people with hearing concerns will grow as the population ages and noise pollution continues to increase. Although hearing challenges are thought of as typically striking seniors, more people are experiencing hearing issues at an earlier age. A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that nearly 15% of school-aged children had hearing challenges. 2

Anatomy of the Human Ear
In order to understand more about hearing and how to support optimal hearing function, it may be necessary to understand human anatomy and how the body works. The ear is a complex structure that consists of three sections: the outer, middle, and inner ears. The outer ear is the part we see. It is the external canal that picks up the vibrations from sound and transmits them through the eardrum to the middle ear. The middle ear contains three small bones that take these vibrations into the inner ear, which contains the nerve ending that makes hearing possible. The inner ear is also involved in maintaining balance.

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The Miracle of Hearing
Hearing is a complex and intricate process that enables sound vibrations to pass from outside the head to the part of the brain that processes hearing—all in a microsecond. First, the external ear canal picks up vibrations from sound and transmits them to the eardrum, causing it and the three small attached auditory bones (called ossicles) in the middle ear to vibrate. The smallest of these bones, the stapes, moves like a plunger that causes the fluids in the cochlea (located in the inner ear) to move. The vibrations in the fluid stimulate the tiny, critical hair cells within the cochlea to convert sound waves into nerve impulses for transmission to the brain. Only when the nerve impulses reach the auditory area in the brain does the listener become aware of the sound.

Drugs Which May Affect Hearing
There are a number of commonly used drugs that are known to be a potential concern for stress for hearing function and clarity. Included in the list are: Antibiotics (especially the aminoglycosides), Anesthetics (Lidocaine (Novocain), Anti-malarials (Quinine), Cardiac (Heart) Medications, Chemotherapeutic (Cancer) Agents, Diuretics, Glucocorticosteroids (Cortisone, Steroids), Miscellaneous Substances (Alcohol, Caffeine, Lead, Marijuana, Nicotine, Mercury), Mucosal Protectant (Stomach Ulcer), Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Nuprin), Methyl Salicylates (Bengay), Anaprox (Aleve), Psychopharmacologic (Mood Altering) Agents, and Vapors, Solvents (Gasoline). Neomycin is found in many over-the-counter antibiotic ointments, and is the drug that is most likely to be a concern for hearing function, so it is recommended for external use only. But even this topical therapy has resulted in hearing function concerns when large areas were treated which allowed for large amounts of the drug to be absorbed into the body. Vancomycin is a similar to aminoglycosides when used intravenously.  

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Aging Effects Hearing
Most doctors tell us that hearing issues increase as we get older. But John A. McDougall, M.D., presents evidence to the contrary in his book, "The McDougall Program for a Healthy Heart."  He notes that people in the Third World eating their traditional diets have better hearing at the age of 70 than the average American has at 20. These people live to a ripe old age with all of their senses intact, while many of us have more hearing issues as we get older. When scientists compared the hearing of the African tribes people called Maabans with the people in Wisconsin, they couldn't find any of the Africans, at any age, with hearing concerns like those common in Wisconsin, the dairy capital of the United States. When scientists studied the Finnish people, who eat a high-fat diet, with Yugoslavs, who had a much lower cholesterol level, they found Finnish children with hearing challenges at the age of 10. By the age of 19, those young Finns had a marked inability to hear high frequency sounds. Yugoslav children had no such hearing concerns. Dr. McDougall points out that, just as the arteries nourishing the heart and brain become clogged with fat, the vessels supplying the inner ear also become clogged, causing hearing function concerns. Dr. Martin’s HearAll promotes circulation to the auditory system, sharpens auditory sensitivity, and supports optimal hearing function.*

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Diet for Good Hearing
Good nutrition is essential. Eat a diet that is low in saturated animal fat and refined carbohydrates and include plenty of cold-water fish (i.e. salmon, trout, albacore tuna, herring, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, etc.), whole grains, seeds, nuts, and fresh vegetables and fruits. Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish, canola oil, soybeans, flaxseed, walnuts, and wheat germ. Omega-3's are essential fatty acids that our bodies cannot create without first obtaining them from food. The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids have been touted for years - with documented research. What has brought omega-3 into the spotlight in recent years, however, is the possible protective role in cardiovascular health. And better cardiovascular health means a healthy hearing function. 

Vitamins A and E also support optimal hearing function. 3 Foods that contain vitamin A and E include: Liver, fish liver oils, eggs, carrots, nuts, wheat germ and dark-green leafy vegetables. Make sure that your diet contains plenty of fiber to prevent occasional constipation and keep the bowels clean. Drink 8 glasses of purified water per day. Ears are nourished by the body's blood supply. Fatty foods can change the blood supply to the ears. In some countries where people eat a vegetarian diet, the people were found to have better hearing even when they were quite old. This is not true in our country. Researchers believe this may be due to our "junk food" eating habits and noisy surroundings. In some cases, hearing may be improved by reducing salt, which can cause fluids to be retained in the ear.  And take HearAll nutritional supplement daily to support optimal hearing function and acuity.*

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Science for Hearing Support
For many years, hearing aids have been the primary means of gathering sound and enriching the lives of people experiencing hearing concerns. But recently scientists have discovered nutritional ingredients and formulas that help support optimal auditory function and maintain hearing acuity. The latest research studies illustrate how to:

  • Support optimal hearing and hearing cell function 4, 5
  • Provide specific nutrients for the auditory system
  • Promote circulation to the auditory system 6
  • Sharpen auditory sensitivity and promote cochlear ear function 7
  • Protect hearing cells from free-radical damage and maintain longevity 8, 9, 10, 11

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Supplements that may Support Hearing      
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) enhances circulation, helps optimize hearing and brain function, and offers antioxidant protection* 12
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) facilitates the use of oxygen by hearing cells*
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) helps promote circulation to the ears*
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxamine) may help regulate fluid levels in the ears*
Folic Acid supports energy production in hearing cells, and promotes circulation to ears* 13
Folic Acid Prevents Age-Related Hearing Loss NEW
Vitamin B-12 (Methyl cobalamin) aids in cell formation and cellular health, and helps support nerve function* 14, 15, 16
Magnesium supports healthy nerve function in the auditory system and protects the arterial linings from physical stress* 17, 18, 19
Zinc is an essential mineral that supports immune system function and protect hair cells in the ear* 20
Acetyl L-carnitine may help generate mitochondria in the inner ear* 21
N-acetylcysteine may help protect hair cells in the inner ear* 22, 23
Butchers Broom may help support circulation to the ears and control fluid levels*
Ginkgo biloba may help promote blood flow into the ears, and maintain balance* 24, 25, 26, 27
Vinpocetine (Periwinkle Herb Extract) supports increased auditory and cerebral blood flow, promotes use of oxygen, and protects against free-radical damage* 28, 29, 30
Coenzyme Q10 a powerful antioxidant that may help maintain circulation to the ears, support energy production in hearing cells, and CoQ10 protects against free-radical damage* 31, 32, 33
Alpha Lipoic Acid is a powerful fat/water soluble antioxidant that protects against free-radical damage, supports nerve system function, and plays an essential role in generating mitochondria in the hair cells of the inner ear* 34, 35, 36, 37
Betaine helps make nutrients more absorbable by the body*

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Exercises for Optimal Hearing
The following simple daily exercises help tremendously to support optimal hearing function. Change your daily routine to allow time to do these and other exercises consistently for a total of 20 minutes each day. In addition to the described exercises, maintain a healthy weight and get regular moderate exercise. Walking, swimming, and bicycling all promote good circulation.
Yoga Half Shoulder Stand
This position can optimize blood circulation to the ears. Lie on your back and bring your knees toward your forehead, supporting your hips with your hands. Inhale and extend your legs, keeping them at a right angle to your back (see photo). Take a few deep breaths, then exhale and lower your legs. If you have a history of spine problems (including back or neck issues), check with your Doctor of Chiropractor before performing this maneuver.

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Simple Daily Exercises
1. Turn your head to the right as far as is comfortable. Nod up and down as far as you can without pain. Repeat 8-10 times on both right and left side.
2. Looking straight ahead, bend your head straight sideways attempting to touch your ear to your shoulder without raising your shoulder. Repeat both sides 8-10 times.
3. Looking straight ahead, shrug your shoulders as far up as you can to the count of three. Relax and repeat 10 times.
4. Put your hands on your shoulders. Raise your elbows up as far as you can. Move down and back around in a circle. Repeat 5-10 times.
5. Sit in a firm chair and take a full deep breath; exhale slowly and bring elbows to shoulder height at your sides. Beginning with your chin, slowly rotate your torso completely to one side.
6. Draw your neck back while tucking your chin.
7. Bring your head forward touching your chin on your chest.
8. Stand about 3 feet away from the corner of a room. Put one hand on each wall. Do a push up leaning your entire body toward the corner. Gradually spread your hands father apart for more stretch.
9. Go to a door and grasp the top of the door. Now relax your body, handing down from the door to stretch the upper back. If you are not tall enough to reach the door, stand 2 feet from the wall. Reach your hands as far up as you can and lean against the wall.
10. Standing, hold your hands out to your side. Cross them in front of you in a scissor motion, first crossing the right hand over the left, then the left over the right. Repeat moving your arms up and down.
11. Stretch your neck forward, touching your chin almost to your chest. Then stretch your neck backward in a pain free range of motion. Do this slowly. Do not jerk.
12. With your fingers clasped behind your head (not your neck), gently curl your head down toward your chest. Try to raise your head up as your arms pull down. Do not bounce. Omit this exercise in acute neck injuries or if it causes pain.

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Additional Tips for Hearing Health
How can we promote our hearing so that we will always enjoy our favorite sounds? If we have healthy ears now, we can do things to keep it that way.

Avoid very loud and dangerous noise. Even loud music is a concern. Do not listen to loud music with earphones. Wear earplugs if you are exposed to noise levels that may be harmful to your ears. Place pads under noisy countertop household appliances such as blenders.

Wear hearing protectors, special ear inserts, or ear muffs around noisy equipment.

Work in your community to keep it quiet. Let elected officials know that you are concerned about protecting ears and hearing.

Be on the alert for possible hearing problems with your children. Does your 3-month-old daughter smile when you speak to her? More and more hospitals are testing newborns for hearing loss. The sooner their disability is discovered and treated, the less likely they are to fall behind in the development of important language and social skills. Educate your children about the danger of loud recreational noise.

If your ears frequently tend to get severely blocked with wax, clean them periodically with hydrogen peroxide.

Be sure to report any sudden hearing loss to your doctor immediately.

      There are so many things you can do today to help you live a fuller, more active life. Support your hearing function with a nutritional supplement program. Learn all you can about hearing. You don’t have to miss out anymore.

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Dr. Bob Martin
Dr. Martin is an internationally recognized authority on human health. He is a diplomat of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine and a board certified Clinical Nutritionist. Dr. Martin is also a board certified Chiropractic Physician and Physiotherapist. His popular national radio talk show Health Talk is heard by millions each week.

To: Tinnitus

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


  1. Bureau of the Census, US Dept of Commerce, Statistical Abstract of the US, 114th ed. 1994.

  2. JAMA. 1998;279:1071=1075

  3. Acra Vitaminol Enzymol 1985;7 Suppl:85-92.

  4. Laryngoscope 2000 Mah;110(5 Pt 1):727-38.

  5. Neurobiol Aging 1999 Jan-Feb;20)1):1-8.

  6. Laryngorhinootologie 1994 Mar; 73)3); 149-52.

  7. Am J Otol March 2000; 21(2):161-7.

  8. Hear Res, May 2000; 143(1-2):162-70.

  9. J Pineal Res, March 2000, 28(2):73-80.

  10. Diabetologia 1998 May; 41(5):584-8.

  11. Acta Otolaryngol Suppl 1998;458:95-102

  12. Acta Otolaryngol Suppl 1996;522(3):22-5.

  13. Am J Clin Nutr 1999;69;564-71.

  14. Am J Otol 1988 Mar; 9(2):131-5.

  15. Altern Med Rev 1998 Dec;3(6):461-3.

  16. Am J Clin Nutr 1999;69:564-71.

  17. Schrifter VerWasser Boden Lufthyg 1993;88:503-16.

  18. Am J Otolaryngol 1994 Jan-Feg;15(1):26-32.

  19. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol 2000;257(7):355-61.

  20. Neurobiol Aging 1999 Jan-Feb;20(1):1-8.

  21. Am J Otol 2000 Mar;21(2):161-7.

  22. Hear Res 2000 May;143(1-2);162-70.

  23. J Pineal Res 2000 Mar;28(2):73-80.

  24. Presse Med 1986 Sep 25;15(31):1559-61.

  25. Laryngorhinootologie 1994 Mar;73(3):149-52.

  26. Presse Med 1986 Sep 25;15(31):1559-61.

  27. Laryngorhinootologie 1994 Mar;73(3):149-52.

  28. Acta Pharm. Hung. 1996;66(5):213-24.

  29. Brain Res 2000 Jun 23;868(2):222-9.

  30. Otolaryngol Pol 1990;44(2):122-9.

  31. Diabetologia 1998 May;41(5):584-8.

  32. Acta Otolaryngol Suppl 1998;458:95-102.

  33. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1998 Jul 21;95(15):8892-7.

  34. Am J Otol 2000 Mar;21(2):161-7.

  35. Free Rad Biol Med 1995;19:227-50.

  36. Free Radic Biol Med. 1999 Nov;27(9-10):1114-21.

  37. Acta Otolaryngol 2000 Aug;120(5):596-9.

This article is adapted from Hearing Guide for Consumers by Dr. Bob Martin and reprinted with exclusive permission from Select Nutrition / NaturalCare.

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