For years, we’ve known that red wine, in moderation, could benefit the heart. We’re now learning that the French and Italians who drink wine with every meal might also be protecting their hearing. A 2013 study reported that resveratrol — the anti-aging, disease-fighting antioxidant found in red wine — could actually protect against hearing loss.
A team of researchers looked at rats that were exposed to exceedingly loud music. One group of rats received resveratrol. The results published in the journal Otolaryngology showed that the rats who didn’t receive resveratrol experienced hearing loss. Also seen were increases in the key markers for hearing damage, such as inflammation, free radical formation and DNA damage. But, the resveratrol-fed rats suffered much less hearing loss, measured by a 90% reduction in the markers of hearing damage, such as inflammation and DNA damage. One of the study’s coauthors, Michael D. Seidman, MD, director at the division of Otologic/Neurotologic surgery at the Henry Ford Health System, believes the findings could be applicable to humans. If so, the discovery could be groundbreaking — because many millions of Americans have some noise-induced hearing loss.
While research on the red wine/hearing link is still forthcoming, Dr. Seidman suggested other foods that may have a positive impact on hearing.
Fish. Eating fish twice a week can reduce your risk of developing age-related hearing loss by 42%, according to a 2010 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Fish, including salmon, contain essential fatty acids that improve blood flow to the ear.
Apples. They contain a flavonoid called quercetin, an antioxidant key to fighting the free radical damage so dangerous to hearing.
Fortified cereals. They pack zinc, a mineral found in your inner ear known to reduce inflammation. One study from Taiwan suggests that zinc may even treat a certain type of hearing loss called sudden sensorineural hearing loss.
For more on the study, check out the story “Red Wine Might Preserve Hearing” at Prevention.com.