Now you have even more reason to smile when you say ‘cheese.’ Scientists believe that eating more cheese can potentially prevent hearing loss and reverse deafness that is a result of noise-induced hearing loss.
Noise-induced hearing loss occurs when the complex auditory system is subjected to loud, repetitive sounds. We can damage the delicate hairs within the inner ear with an uncommonly loud sound, such as an explosion, or through the consistent exposure over a long period of time.
Noise-induced hearing loss can be either temporary or permanent and can affect one or both ears. In professions where repetitive noises are part and parcel with their necessary work, regulations are in place to protect the hearing of their workers. However, noise-induced hearing loss still manages to impact people on the job. Last year, an estimated 20,000 people suffered from noise-induced hearing loss caused or made worse by work, based on data from the Labour Force Survey (three-year average period 2013/14-2015/16), equating to a rate of 62 cases per 100,000 workers.
A surprising new study from scientists at Southern Illinois University in the United States reveals that the preventative measure or even the cure for noise-induced hearing loss may be found in one of perhaps the most delicious packages on the planet. Lab tests on animals in the experiment concluded that the amino acid found in cheese and yogurt, called D-methionine, protects against nerve damage from loud noise and even restores hearing when administered within a few hours of sound exposure.
The next step is to conduct a similar study on humans, where it is supposed that increasing consumption of D-methionine via cheese and yogurt products will have a similar effect. They’ve already lined up a test group for the new study from within the US Army. Certainly, military personnel are a prime example of a profession that is synonymous with potential noise-induced hearing loss.
If you suffer from noise-induced hearing loss or live a lifestyle in which dangerous noise levels factor, you’ll probably be keeping a close eye on the continuing testing. Before you’re tempted to switch your diet over to only cheese and yogurt, remember that the results as they are now only apply to animals. And you’d have to amp up your cheese intake quite a bit to mimic the conditions of the experiment, as participants in the study are given a dosage found in about five pounds of cheddar cheese.
But if you’re a cheese lover who doesn’t blink at the thought of two kilos of cheese, then this study might be exactly the evidence you’ve been waiting for to fully indulge your fromage feta-ish.
While we wait patiently for the results of human testing in the great cheese experiment, the best way to combat noise-induced hearing loss is still prevention. If you work in an environment where dangerous noise levels can be an issue, make it a point to talk to your supervisor or workplace advocate in order to ensure that your company is abiding by current health regulations. If available, take breaks in a quiet place every now and again to give your ears some much needed rest, or wear custom hearing protection.
Everyone can turn down the volume a notch in their lives. We live in a culture where everyone is plugged in constantly. Earphones are now as common an accessory as a pair of sunglasses! This can toe the line in terms of hearing health, because there’s no real way to regulate the volume level if you don’t pay close attention. When you pop your headphones in and turn on your device, make sure that your volume is turned down to the lowest level you can comfortably hear. Never increase the volume in your earphones to drown out exterior noise. Instead, invest in a solid pair of noise-cancelling headphones to do that instead.
Pay attention to the listening environments in which you find yourself. Few situations are so critical that you should put your hearing system through the wringer and potentially damage your ability to hear clearly and easily. If you’re planning on being in such an environment, like a loud rock concert, fireworks or another noisy event, pick up a pair of earplugs. They can reduce the extra decibels a bit, make your experience less assaulting and protect your hearing for years to come.