by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.

A man asked,

I’ve come across a website that’s called The Hearing Fix. They say they have capsules (a herbal mix and so forth) that works really well at restoring hearing, money back guarantee, backed by university research. Do you know of such? Is such correct?

You are not the first person to ask me this question. It’s always good to be cautious when you read claims that sound too good to be true—because they usually are—but they often have a grain of truth in them. I think this is the case here as well. Let me explain.

First, www.thehearingfix.com website is long on hype and short on facts. For example, on the home page there is a picture of a man dressed up as a doctor who is quoted as saying, “I believe that daily use of The Hearing Fix is the perfect way to ensure that one has the best possible hearing. I recommend it to everyone.” Notice, that there is no name given. The man who said this is either not a doctor, or doesn’t want his name associated with something he said. You have to wonder why.

Furthermore it claims, “The Hearing Fix: #1 rated hearing loss treatment”. Who rated this? Where’s the proof? Show us where it says this. The truth is that few people even know about this product—so how can it be the No. 1 rated hearing loss treatment?

Second, notice that there is supposedly a lot of research, but not a single source is cited. Rather there is just the hype, “Clinically supported Science from the universities of Florida, Michigan and Washington. The active compounds found in The Hearing Fix are supported by clinical research and have been cited in over 29 scientific studies.” It sure wouldn’t hurt to have a page that lists this information so people could check it out for themselves. This would give more credence to these claims.

Third, notice that this product is a food supplement. (I certainly have nothing against good food supplements!) As such, they are not allowed to make any claims for this product. Read their “Important Notice” on the home page, “The Hearing Fix is a dietary supplement designed to promote healthy hearing. It is not intended for use or treatment of any disease. Always use hearing protection.” and “These Statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, mitigate, treat, cure or prevent any disease.” (emphasis mine)

So how can they claim, “The hearing fix is a revolutionary hearing loss treatment scientifically engineered to help protect and restore ones natural hearing abilities. This amazing product is a natural remedy to almost all causes of hearing problems including:

  • Noise induced hearing loss
  • Tinnitus
  • Sensorineural hearing loss
  • Presbycusis
  • Conductive hearing loss
  • Sudden hearing loss”

Fourth, notice that there is a paucity of information on the people behind this product. In fact, there is nothing available. When they “hide” this information, you wonder what else they are hiding. A good rule of thumb is that you should not buy from websites that don’t give a physical address, which this site doesn’t.

In contrast, look at any of my websites. There you will find my name, address, phone number, FAX number, email address, etc. and information about me. I have nothing to hide, and I want people to be able to check up on me to see if I’m genuine or not.

That’s the bad news.

Now for the good news.

The Hearing Fix is made up of a number of herbals (and I’m definitely in favor of taking herbals rather than drug) and amino-acids and related compounds. Here are a number of them and what they can do for you. (The following information comes from my herbal and other reference books—not from this website.) As you can see, none of these are “bad” things. In fact, they are all “good” things.

  • The main herbal is Milk thistle (Silybum marianum)—300 mg.—which helps protect from the effects of free radicals, and boosts the body’s production of glutathione by 35%
  • Grapeseed extract—100 mg. Grapeseed contains powerful antioxidant compounds called procyanidins
  • Dandelion extract—100 mg.—is high in Vitamin A
  • Scutellaria baicalensis—50 mg.—is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial that inhibits some viruses
  • Schisandra chinensis—50 mg.—is another strong antioxidant, and also helps improve brain efficiency
  • Barberry (Berberis vulgaris)—30 mg.—is a natural antibiotic used by herbalists in the treatment of ear infections
  • Turmeric—30 mg.—is packed with the antioxidant vitamins A, C and E
  • Celidonium majus—10 mg.—fights viruses, bacteria, fungi, tumors and inflammation
  • L-Glutathione—100 mg.—this is the body’s most powerful antioxidant and zaps free radicals
  • N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC)—100 mg.—is an amino acid that your body uses to make glutathione. Since glutathione is not well absorbed when taken by mouth, taking NAC is a better approach in helping your body increase its supply of glutathione
  • L-Carnitine—50 mg.—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)
  • L-Methionine—20 mg.—is one of the 8 essential amino acids, and is a powerful antioxidant

Now, what does all this mean in relation to hearing loss. The US military and other researchers have been studying ways to protect military personnel from hearing loss caused by exposure to loud noise. They found that loud noise causes the production of free radicals in the inner ear. (Incidentally, taking prescription drugs, or eating fried foods, for example, also causes an excess of free radicals.) When these free radicals zap a hair cell, it either damages or kills it, resulting in permanent hearing loss.

If something could neutralize the free radicals before they zapped the hair cells, then hearing could be preserved. With that in mind, they turned their attention to antioxidants. Since glutathione is the most powerful natural antioxidant, they developed a “pill” that contains glutathione and associated amino acids. By taking these “pills” before going into battle, and again after the battle, they found that, to a large extent, the hearing of soldiers taking this treatment was preserved.

Coming back to The Hearing Fix, looking at the ingredients I’ve listed above, notice that many of them are antioxidants. Thus if you expose your ears to loud sounds, take drugs or eat foods that produce free radicals, these antioxidants will work to zap the free radicals, and thus help preserve your hearing. As a side benefit, if you preserve your hearing, you have a much better chance of not having annoying tinnitus either.

Also, notice that various of the herbals have antibiotic properties that can help protect your ears from the ravages of viruses and bacteria—again preserving your hearing, and by reducing ear infections, reducing the severity and frequency of conductive hearing losses.

So the bottom line is that The Hearing Fix, although short on facts and long on hype on this website, appears to be actually quite a good product. It’s missing a couple of important minerals such as zinc and magnesium that are also important for good ear health.

Taking The Hearing Fix won’t restore your hearing if you’ve lost it in the past, if its due to genetics, etc., but by promoting good ear health, and providing powerful antioxidants and antibiotic functions, it can help you maintain healthy ears, and help prevent further hearing loss caused by living in our noisy world.

Now that you realize what this product can and cannot do, you may choose to take this product and see whether you notice any benefits to your ears.

As near as I can tell, none of the ingredients are harmful to either your body or your ears, so the worst thing that you could expect is that your health improves along with preserving your hearing.

If you take this product, and assuming you cannot detect any change to your ears and your hearing, you can always ask for your money back—and get back an extra 10% back in the process according to their website. So it looks like you win either way.

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Update January 21, 2011

The company that produces  “The Hearing Fix” recently changed its formula so what I wrote above about its ingredients is no longer valid. The new list of ingredients includes:

  • Vinpocetine—a synthetic compound derived from the lesser Periwinkle plant (Vinca minor). It is supposed to increase blood circulation in your brain.
  • Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE)—a precursor for acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a key chemical in neurons (nerve cells) that acts as a neurotransmitter, that is, it carries information across the synapses between adjacent neurons.
  • Choline bitartrate—a member of the Vitamin B complex group. It helps increase the acetylcholine neurotrantmitter levels (see previous ingredient).
  • Glycine—one of the non-essential amino acids that helps create muscle tissue and converts glucose into energy.
  • Alpha lipoic acid—a natural antioxidant made by the body.
  • L-cysteine—a naturally occurring amino acid.
  • Pregnenolone—the basic steroid compound in your body that your body naturally produces and uses as the building block for all the other steroids it produces.
  • Pyridoxine—basically Vitamin B6.
  • Methylcobalamin—one of the natural forms of Vitamin B12.
  • Folate—a natural form of Vitamin B9. Folic acid is the synthetic form.
  • Ascorbic acid—a form of Vitamin C and acts as an antioxidant.
  • Magnesium—needed to help protect your ears from noise damage. If you are around loud noise, it depletes your ears of the magnesium it needs.

I have my doubts that this formula is better than the previous one, but it is certainly different. The former formula was geared to protecting your ears from the effects of loud noise, while this one seems just to be promoting good ear health.

Like the above formula, I don’t think this new one will cause any problems to your ears, but I question how much change it will make, if any, if you are already following a good diet.

They still have their money-back guarantee, so if you try it and it doesn’t do anything for your ears, you can get your money back.