Vitamin E May Rebuild Hearing

Sep 29, 2004 12:49 PM EDT

A recent study has found that vitamin E can help restore hearing in people who suddenly go deaf for unknown reasons.

Israeli researchers gave the antioxidant to half of a small group of 66 patients who lost their hearing in the previous eight days. Those on vitamin E fared the best.

75% improvement in hearing

These patients showed an improvement in their hearing of 75% or better by the time they were discharged from the hospital, and had even better improvement at later follow-up.

In as many as 15% of cases of what is called idiopathic sensorineural hearing loss, no obvious cause can be cited. Some scientists say they've found evidence of oxygen damage in the inner ear of animals exposed to noise, or to drugs known to harm hearing.