How supplements could prevent hearing loss

July 25, 2011, Queen Mary University of London

(Medical Xpress) -- International researchers will gather in London this week to discuss their research on preventing hearing loss with dietary supplements.

The researchers from the University of Florida and Southern Illinois University will explain how a combination of vitamins and magnesium, and a substance found in cheese and yoghurt could negate the damage caused by excessive noise.

They will be presenting their work at the International Commission on the of Noise conference, organised by academics from Queen Mary, University of London and the Institute of Acoustics.

One in four people in the UK suffer hearing loss and a quarter of cases in men in caused by noise. In women the figure is around fifteen per cent.

People who serve in the military or in heavy industry are at risk of hearing loss as well as children and young people who listen to loud music.

Professor Colleen Le Prell of the University of Florida is conducting a trial to see if vitamin C and E, beta-carotene and magnesium can protect the hearing of a group of students listening to .

Dr. Kathleen Campbell of Southern Illinois University School of Medicine is working with the US military to see whether a substance called D-met, found naturally but at low levels in cheese and yoghurt, can protect hearing during weapons training.

The researchers say that, in may cases physical barriers to noise, such as ear plugs or ear muffs and either impractical or insufficient to prevent damage to hearing. If successful, these trials could offer a new way to prevent in those most at risk.

Other research presented at the conference includes work on iPods and children's hearing, the impact of wind farms, and noise and .

Stephen Stansfeld is Professor of Psychiatry at Queen Mary, University of London and researches the effects of noise on children’s performance at school. He is Chair of The International Commission on the Biological Effects of Noise, is on the conference’s organizing committee and will give the opening speech.

He said: “Excessive noise is a fact of modern life with many of us living, working or going to school in noisy environments. The research being presented at this conference will aid our understanding of and how it affects health and will help us treat or even prevent the problems it causes.”

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