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CoQ10 For Hearing Loss - Does It Work?

Does it help to take CoQ10 for hearing loss?

There is evidence from animal studies that coenzyme Q10, a potent antioxidant, may be able to slow down the damage from noise induced hearing loss.

You can learn about all the health benefits of CoQ10 in this complete and unbiased article (and there are indeed many benefits) so we won't mention it here.

What we want to present in this article is the research studies on the use of CoQ10 for preserving and perhaps reversing the loss in hearing...

Benefits of CoQ10 for hearing loss - What the studies show

Research studies have found a relationship between sudden hearing loss with low levels of CoQ10. But experts are not sure if the hearing loss is the result of low levels of CoQ10 or that hearing loss causes the CoQ10 to drop.

The mitochondrion is the powerhouse in each cell, generating all the energy needed to support cellular life. However, it also produces, as a by-product, highly reactive oxygen species (ROS) that can damage parts of the cell. These oxygen free radicals can cause damage to the sensitive hair cells in the inner ear responsible for sensing sound.


Study #1

This first study was done at the Institute of Otorhinolaryngology (long name eh?) in Italy with 60 patients with hearing loss. Here's the reference to the study:

Coenzyme Q 10 and cardiovascular risk factors in idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss patients.
Cadoni G, et al.
Otol Neurotol. 2007 Oct;28(7):878-83.

The researchers found a consistent relationship between hearing loss, high cholesterol and low CoQ10. This does not mean that low CoQ10 causes hearing loss.

But there is compelling evidence (both from previous animal studies) that high oxidative stress (due to low CoQ10 levels) could make existing hearing loss much worse.

How can we be sure? How about a clinical study involving CoQ10 and hearing loss?

The second study below is more revealing in the health benefits of CoQ10 for treating hearing loss.


Study #2

Coenzyme Q10 in combination with steroid therapy for treatment of sudden sensorineural hearing loss: a controlled prospective study.
Ahn JH, et al.
Clin Otolaryngol. 2010 Dec;35(6):486-9.

This is (probably) the only clinical study to date that actually looked at using CoQ10 supplements to help improve hearing.

Conducted at the University of Ulsan College of Medicine in Korean, 60 patients given CoQ10 with conventional steroid therapy showed greater improvements in speech discrimination score than just with the steroid therapy alone.

(Note: The other measure of hearing, four-tone average hearing was not different between the two groups.)

So it seems that CoQ10 may have a role to play in reversing hearing loss. That was the conclusion from the authors of this study.


CoQ10 for hearing loss - Dose used in the studies

We suggest taking 100 mg twice daily. It may be also wise to have your family doctor test your cholesterol levels to ensure they are at the recommended target.

There is some suggestive evidence that the presence of cardiovascular risks (e.g. high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol) may play a role in worsening cases of existing hearing loss.

See CoQ10 Dose for more information on dosages of CoQ10 for other uses.


Bottom Line

Experts believe that low CoQ10 reduces the antioxidant protection to sensitive nerves responsible for processing sound in the inner ear.

One clinical study showed that taking CoQ10 supplements with conventional therapy for treating hearing loss was more effective than just using the conventional therapy.

We recommend starting at a dose of 100 mg twice daily.

See Health Benefit of Coenzyme Q10 to discover all the other benefits of this natural substance.

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