As many people know, hearing damage and loss is a permanent condition with a very limited number of treatment options (see your nearest BC Audiologist). However, researchers at Weill Cornell and the Gladstone Institute have just discovered a possible preventative drug-therapy for hearing loss, particularly to help stop noise induced hearing loss (NIHL).

Loud noises destroy the hair cells in the cochlea, thus impairing the relationship between sound information and nerves to the brain. The result is NIHL.

The researchers, using lab mice, found that doses of nicotinamide riboside (NR) protect the nerves surrounding the cochlea from harsh sound waves. NR is a precursor to vitamin B3 and increases the action of the protein sirtuin 3 (SIRT3). SIRT3 operates the body’s mitochondria. The levels of this protein decrease with age, inducing age-related health issues, like hearing loss, diabetes, and hypertension.

The results of this experiment greatly suggest that using NR to isolate and conduct SIRT3 could be the answer to age-related problems. What does this mean for NIHL sufferers? A future supplement of SIRT3 or NR would protect their ears from further damage, and greatly reduce the chances of permanent hearing damage. This is great news for people who work in noisy environments. Though the study is still in its exploratory stage, the fact that NIHL can be thwarted naturally occurring chemical compound is encouraging, especially to those dealing with some form of hearing loss.

Until SIRT3 and NR can safely be administered to the masses, it’s best to avoid exposure to loud noises as much as possible. If it can’t be avoided, wear protective headphones. Have your hearing tested every year, along with a physical, to ensure that everything is operating at optimal levels.

Source: Lauren Clason

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