Have you ever taken your car to the mechanic because it's making a “weird noise,” only to have it drive perfectly when you're there? It's frustrating, isn't it? Many people who think they have hearing loss experience a similar situation. They're constantly asking loved ones to repeat themselves when they're out in public, so they decide to have a hearing test done, only to pass with flying colors.
That's because being able to hear in the quiet of a doctor's office is a lot different than being able to hear in a noisy restaurant. But until recently, doctors didn't have a name for this condition or much understanding of why it occurred. They assumed hearing loss was the same no matter what type of environment you tested it in. Fortunately, researchers from the University of Michigan have recently isolated this condition and given it a name: hidden hearing loss.
According to this research, hidden hearing loss involves damage to the myelin, the insulating layer that covers the neuronal axons in the ear. However, what makes hidden hearing loss so hard to identify is that the myelin can easily regenerate itself if it's damaged. But even temporary myelin damage can allow the underlying nerves to be damaged as well — and they don't get repaired even if the myelin regenerates.
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Another factor in hidden hearing loss is damage to the synapses connecting hair cells in the inner ear with neurons. You need only a few intact synapses to hear sounds in a quiet environment. But add in some ambient noise, and you'll need a lot more synapses to get involved. If there aren't enough, you'll have trouble honing in on what you actually want to hear. And if you've experienced damage to both your synapses and the myelin layer, you're even more likely to suffer from hidden hearing loss.
A big cause of damage to the synapses and myelin layer is excessive noise, so try to avoid it when possible. Wear earplugs if you know you'll be in a particularly loud environment. And keep the sound down if you're wearing headphones or earplugs. Monitor your kids' sound exposure as well, as a lot of damage can be done early in life.
Then you can support the function of the nerves in your ears by taking Advanced Hearing Formula. You need healthy auditory nerves and good circulation to your ears to be able to hear well whether you're in a quiet environment or a loud one. This mix of vitamins, minerals, and herbs supports both.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD