by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
A lady asked,
I recently came across an ad for The Hearing Loss Pill. Do you know anything about it?
The Hearing Loss Pill is one of several formulations out there that purport to make your ears healthy and restore some lost hearing.
In actual fact, most of us have sensorineural hearing loss caused by dead hair cells—and nothing doctors can do can bring dead cells back to life. So from that point of view, the Hearing Loss Pill cannot help you and restore your lost hearing.
However, these formulations do work to make your ears healthier and if your hearing loss (or some of it) is due to “sick” ears (to use a fancy medical term) rather than from dead hair cells and supporting structures, then restoring them to health can have a beneficial result to your ears (including the auditory processing parts of your brain) and hearing. Thus, some people do receive a benefit from taking such formulations.
In addition, a lot of people suffer from oxidative stress—a fancy way of saying that your body produces too many free radicals—and free radicals do indeed damage your ears and your hearing (among other things)—so anything that reduces the production of free radicals, or quickly zaps them after they are formed, is all to the good. Some of the ingredients in these formulations do just that. As a result, from this point of view, these formulations can prevent deteriorating hearing from free radicals. (Note: a lot of drugs produce free radicals, as do a lot of processed foods.)
If you look at the list of ingredients in these formulations, you’ll find that they have many of the same ingredients—it’s the amount of each that varies, plus a few unique to their formula. As a result, some may work better than others. These ingredients are basically not harmful, so the worst that can result is that your wallet gets a bit thinner.
IF your ear problems are the result of their being “sick”, then these formulations may help you. Don’t expect miraculous results overnight—normally you’ll notice results over several months so you have to take them for an extended period before you can tell whether they are doing good for your ears or not.
The ingredients in these formulations are not esoteric—they are readily available from health food stores and on-line.
Let’s look at the specific formula used in The Hearing Loss Pill. Below is a list of the ingredients from their website with my annotations regarding each item.
Notice the first thing is Vitamin D. Vitamin D3 is the most biologically active form and the desired form to take if you are taking Vitamin D. 2,000 IU may seem high, but the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) in this case is particularly low. I’ve seen figures that say it is safe to take up to 10,000 International Units (IU) a day. (You want your blood level to be between 50 and 70 nanograms/milliliter for optimal health according to Dr. Joe Mercola.) That’s much, much higher than the RDA figures. Most people’s Vitamin D blood levels are way down more like 15 ng/ml—well below the optimum level. Note that if you take high doses of Vitamin D3, you also need to take Vitamin K2 at the same time or you can cause major problems with how your body uses the Vitamin D3.
The second ingredient is Vitamin B12 in it’s recommended form of methylcobalamin. Most people are deficient in Vitamin B12, so supplementing it is not a bad thing either.
Magnesium is good for your ears. In fact, magnesium helps protect your ears from noise damage. If you are around loud noise, it depletes your ears of the magnesium it needs. So again, this is a good thing.
L-Glutathione is a natural antioxidant your body produces. In fact, it is the body’s most powerful antioxidant. It zaps free radicals. What they don’t say here is that L-Glutathione is not well absorbed when taken by mouth so you don’t get the benefit you think you are getting. As a result, it is better to take one of the major building blocks of glutathione, namely N-Acetyl-Cysteine and let your body synthesize its own glutathione from it.
Alpha lipoic acid is another natural antioxidant produced by your body.
Vinpocetine is a synthetic compound derived from the lesser Periwinkle plant (Vinca minor). It is supposed to increase blood circulation in your brain. (Not a bad thing to be sure.)
Quercetin is a plant-derived bioflavonoid antioxidant.
Acetyl L-Carnitine is derived from the amino acids Lysine and Methionine. It plays an important role in such things as energy production, enhancing cellular energy in the brain and improving mental performance (from which we could all benefit).
So that gives you a little bit of background on what you might expect from taking this Hearing Loss Pill. Whether you want to spend the money on it is up to you. Eating a healthy diet and taking quality supplements would give you basically the same thing.