You have most likely heard that a single glass of red wine is good for your overall health. Although chances are though that you have never heard that it is good for your hearing health, its appears to be true. Peer reviewed scientific studies, the good standard in research, have been run in the United States and the United Kingdom that indicate drinking red wine could both reduce and prevent hearing loss. We are liking that so far.
Red Wine & Health
Marketers of red wine have long extoled the health benefits, especially the heart health benefits, to be gained by moderate consumption of red wine. To spur on sales of their wine, we often reminded of the cancer and cardiovascular disease protection provided by the antioxidants and various tannins that red wine contains. Also, red wine is considered to be an integral part of the “Mediterranean diet” that had been a fad for a while due to it being both healthy and enjoyable.
Noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common reasons for hearing loss.
The Magic Ingredient
The one substance that gets the most attention is the small molecule resveratrol.
While resveratrol is an anti-inflammatory natural plant compound it also acts in a similar fashion to an antioxidant. It is found in the skins and seeds of red grapes and various berries, most notably the blueberry. Resveratrol can also be found in dark chocolate and peanut butter. Having become so popular amongst the health supplement crowd, it is now available as a dietary supplement at your favorite health food store.
A body of research has shown that resveratrol has a net positive effect on cognitive decline, triglycerides, joint pains, and other hallmarks of ageing.
Hearing Health Effects of Red Wine
Some years ago, a study from an otologic lab at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit headed up by Dr Michael Seidman investigated resveratrol for its effect on hearing loss. Essentially the study was based on rats given resveratrol prior to being exposed to loud noise for and extended period of time. Ultimately it was found that resveratrol helped protect the rats hearing from permanent damage.
This protective effect of resveratrol was hypothesized to be related to reducing bio inflammation. Dr. Michael Seidman said “resveratrol is a very powerful chemical that seems to protect against the body’s inflammatory process as it relates to aging, cognition and hearing loss.” Dr. Seidman also studied
“We’ve shown that by giving animals resveratrol, we can reduce the amount of hearing and cognitive decline,” notes Dr. Michael Seidman.
Dr. Michael Seidmans researchers hypothesised that it was resveratrol’s anti-inflammation effect that reduced hearing loss. Resveratrol’s “anti-aging” qualities may make the ear’s hearing hair cells break down less quickly. This is extremely beneficial as once the fine hairs that sense noise are broken; they do not regenerate. To read more about the study click Effects of Resveratrol on Acoustic Trauma . Another study on the bio-inflammation can be found here.
A 2014 UK study found a a correlation between people who reported drinking alcohol occasionally or drank daily, decreased risk of hearing loss for. It showed that people who consume alcohol were less likely to experience hearing loss than lifetime occasional drinkers.
The study included 164,770 adults aged 40-69 years and appeared in the Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology.
How Much is Too Much
Before you stock up on red wine, we need to be cognizant of the difference between an effective amount of consumption for a positive effect versus overdoing it and experiencing a negative overall effect. Excessive alcohol consumption can increase the risk of chronic diseases and other serious problems including High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems.
In terms of hearing health, a 2007 study found that alcohol blunts lower sound frequencies centered on the 1000 Hz range. This is a serious issue as that range of frequencies is vital speech understanding speech. While changes appeared to often be temporary, the researchers running the study warned that repeated episodes of temporary hearing loss can ultimately lead to permanent loss.
According to the mayo clinic website:
If you already drink red wine, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means:
- Up to one drink a day for women of all ages.
- Up to one drink a day for men older than age 65.
- Up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger. The limit for men is higher because men generally weigh more than women and have more of an enzyme that metabolizes alcohol.
A drink is defined as:
- 12 ounces (355 milliliters) of beer
- 5 ounces (148 milliliters) of wine
- 1.5 ounces (44 milliliters) of 80-proof distilled spirits
If you have questions about the benefits and risks of alcohol, talk to your doctor about specific recommendations for you.
Do You Have Questions About Protecting Your Hearing?
We obviously can not give medical advice. What we can to is offer to answer any of your questions about preventing and treating hearing loss. Please feel free to call us at (204) 788-1083 or contact us online. Happy St. Patrick's Day!