Age-related hearing loss (presbyacusis) is a major problem. It almost certainly will affect you whether you develop it yourself, or must adapt to a loved one's hearing loss. It tends to occur in families, but noise and trauma are also factors. It affects 25% of those between the ages of 65 and 75. And it's a major problem in those over 75, with 70-80% experiencing some progressive hearing loss.

Until now, there was little hope for treatment. Hearing aids are a wonderful band-aid approach, but they don't solve the problem. 

But a just published study suggests there's hope for at least partial reversal.

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A pilot study took 23 patients with presbyacusis and treated them with, of all things, two free-radical scavengers. One, you're already very familiar with - vitamin C. The other one was even new to me, since it's a pharmaceutical. It's called rebamipide. The doses were 600 mg and 300 mg per day respectively.

The study resulted in significant improvement in the lower frequencies, 125, 250, 500, and 800 Hz. That's well in the range of voice. However, there weren't changes noted at higher frequencies of 1000, 2000, and 4000 Hz. That's where the finer musical sounds lie.

The most important thing to hear is the voice of your friends and family. So I'm ecstatic about this report. Yes, it does involve a patented chemical. But I've always said there is a place for pharmaceuticals when used judiciously and there's no known natural alternative. Rebamipide might fit those parameters.

Because I had never heard of rebamipide, I did some checking into it. Remarkably, it has a similar chemical structure to a class of natural antioxidant compounds called quinolones. These are well known to physicians who have studied oxidative medicine and free-radical chemistry. Additionally, this substance is used in conventional medicine to protect gastric cells from the free radicals generated by the H. pylori infection, which causes ulcers. There also are investigational studies on its use for age-related dry-eye syndromes. It definitely has its place in medicine.

It's highly likely that combining rebamipide with naturally occurring free-radical scavengers (commonly miscalled antioxidants) could help your presbyacusis. However, since there's no profit to be made, it's unlikely that we'll ever see the needed research done to discover which ones will work best. However, this report is real and I wouldn't hesitate to try this combination.

Unfortunately, rebamipide is not marketed in the United States. However, your integrative physician can write you a prescription. It's available as the trade name Mucosta (Otsuka Korea Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.) and Rebamide (Kyung Dong Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.). You can find sources online. If you have presbyacusis, I think it would be well worth it to seek out rebamipide and pop a few of your health food store vitamin C tablets along with it. (Or consider intravenous vitamin C, which might work even better.) The hearing you restore might be your own.

Yours for bettter health and medical freedom,

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