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Martin Smith

19th June 2017

How Your Cheese Toastie Could Help Protect Your Hearing!


Seems strange, but a compound in cheese may actually protect your hearing

We saw a recent article titled "Listen very Caerphilly!" Oh the Pain, I mean Pun. In essence it was a report about D-Methionone and it's possible protective properties for hearing. While it has been known for a while that it helps protect from damage in animals, a new study in the US should make it clear if it works in humans as well. In fairness though, it's a great reason to eat cheese toasties. 

Protecting your hearing

Scientists have known for a while that in animals, D-methionine has been found to help protect against and even reverse damage to nerve cells in the ear. They believe that the chemical compound could prevent or cure deafness caused by exposure to loud noise in humans.

It is to be tested on 600 human volunteers in the US, taken from the US army. The study will find out if the compound, which is also found in yoghurt, protects the soldiers from permanent hearing damage caused by the noise of gunfire.

Exposure to loud sounds can damage the hair cells in the cochlea which are responsible for passing the sound information to the brain centres. The theory that the scientists are working on is that the noise triggers the release of damaging free radicals in the cochlea. These chemicals can be neutralised by D-methionine.

The animal research has shown that the chemical can even reverse hearing loss if given within seven hours of exposure to loud noise. There are currently no drugs available that can achieve the same effect. In the army trial some recruits will take the compound in a drink after their weapons training, and others will take a placebo.

All will have their hearing tested several days later. Doctors carrying out the clinical trial said: ‘We have documented in animal studies that administration of D-methionine can reduce or prevent noise-induced hearing loss. We now need to determine if it has similar efficacy in humans.’ Hold of on the cheese toasties though, you would have to be eating a lot of them to gain the benefit. The quantity of D-methionine given to soldiers is the same as would be found in 5lbs (2.3kg) of cheese.

If you have any questions about hearing loss, hearing care or hearing aids in Edinburgh or Gullane, don't hesitate to give us a call or book an appointment online. 

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