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Natural Healing for Aging 1: Hearing Loss

Don’t Go Deaf, Blind or Lose Your Mind!

Eh? What’s that you say? Louder, please. No, don’t bother writing it down, can’t see very well, either! Oh, never mind…I probably won’t remember it, anyway!”

If you chuckled when you read that, it’s probably because it sounds familiar—whether it’s something you remember your parents or grandparents saying, or whether you’ve uttered similar things yourself. And while it sounds funny on the surface, the unfortunate truth underlying phrases like these is that varying degrees of failing hearing, vision, and mental function are still considered to be “normal” with advancing age.

But they need not be “normal” for you!

The Hormone Deficiency that Could Be Destroying Your Hearing

Blog0615_Wright1Dennis Trune, Ph.D., of Oregon Health Sciences University, pioneered the research showing that the naturally occurring adrenal steroid hormone aldosterone can often reverse hearing loss in animals..

Based on Dr. Trune’s work, I’ve had aldosterone levels tested in many individuals with hearing loss (most of them “older”), and a significant number turned out to have low or “low normal” measurements. But after taking bio-identical aldosterone in “physiologic” quantities—amounts that would normally be present in adult human bodies—more than half of these individuals have regained a significant proportion of their “lost” hearing.

I’ve been surprised by two aspects of bio-identical aldosterone treatment for hearing loss. First, when it works, it works relatively rapidly, restoring a significant degree of hearing within the first two months. In fact, a few of the people I’ve worked with have literally heard improvement within just two to three weeks.

The other thing that surprised me about aldosterone therapy is that it’s capable of restoring a significant degree of hearing even years after the hearing loss initially occurred. So far, the longest interval I’ve witnessed was in an 87-year-old man who’d lost his hearing 13 years prior to regaining a significant degree of it using aldosterone.

None of the people I’ve worked with have had any adverse effects from aldosterone therapy, likely because the use of bio-identical, physiologic-dose aldosterone restores levels to those that would be found in the body anyway.

I’ve focused this treatment on individuals with hearing loss and low or low-normal aldosterone levels, but I do know of one individual—an M.D.—who decided to try this approach for his hearing loss even though his aldosterone levels were quite normal. His hearing did improve, but unless you too are an M.D., D.O., or N.D. who can prescribe bio-identical aldosterone and order lab tests for sodium and potassium (sodium and potassium regulation are two of aldosterone’s major responsibilities), please don’t take aldosterone, bio-identical or not, if your measured levels are perfectly normal! (For further details about the research behind this treatment and safety details, see Nutrition & Healing for May 2006.)

Measuring and monitoring your aldosterone if you have hearing loss.

Many labs use blood tests to measure aldosterone levels, but I definitely prefer measuring aldosterone as part of an over-all steroid analysis done from a 24-hour urine collection. This test measures all the aldosterone output in a 24-hour period; since aldosterone and other steroid hormones are secreted into the bloodstream in “pulses,” a blood test isn’t quite as accurate.

Also, the 24-hour urine collection measures the “hormone context” in which aldosterone is found, including measurements of cortisol, cortisone, and “downstream metabolites” of cortisol and cortisone. Putting these measurements together allows your physician to assess your adrenal strength and weakness.

The 24-hour urine test also measures pro-carcinogenic estrogens (estrone, estradiol, 16-alpha-hydroxyestrogens, 4-hydoxyestrogens) and anti-carcinogenic estrogens (estriol, 2-hydroxyestrogens, 2-methoxyestradiol, 2-methoxyestone), as well as progesterone, testosterone, and testosterone’s pro- and anti-carcinogenic metabolites DHT and androstanediol (“5-alpha” and “5-beta” forms of both). Thyroid hormones (“free T3” and “free T4”) and growth hormone (HGH) can be added to the test, too.

These measurements may seem unrelated, but all of these hormones interact with each other, so a physician skilled and knowledgeable in bio-identical hormone replacement can do a lot more for you if he or she has ALL of your hormonal information.

Those of you who have been reading Nutrition & Healing for some time know that I’m the Medical Director for Meridian Valley Labs. Back in 1982 I asked them to develop the 24-hour urine analysis so that so I could do a better job with bio-identical hormone replacement for Tahoma Clinic clients. I’ve been using it ever since and it has proven to be an invaluable tool. By Washington state law, individuals can order their own lab tests—including the 24-hour urine analysis. To find out more about it, contact Meridian Valley Labs at 206-209-4200 or see  www.meridianvalleylab.com

Dr. Jonathan Wright is the Medical Director of Tahoma Clinic. This article refers to other Nutrition & Healing articles. If you’re a subscriber to Nutrition & Healing, you can have complete access to the newsletter archives to read the full text of any you’re interested in, by going to www.wrightnewsletter.com, and logging on to the Archives with the user name and password printed on page 8 of each issue.

Photo Credit: Louder by Orin Zebest

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Related Reading:

Natural Healing for Aging 2 - Vision Loss
Natural Healing for Aging 3 - Beating Cognitive Decline
Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy for Women