Hearing Protection for Ototoxicity

Since 1996, scientists have been studying the effects of D-methionine (d-met), a patented form of the amino acid methionine, in the lab. Methionine is a naturally occurring amino acid that we eat on a regular basis without even realizing it. Since methionine is naturally consumed in the foods we eat, it has a good safety profile and is available over the counter as a supplement. Methionine is found in protein rich food like eggs, fish and poultry and can be easily bought on Amazon as a supplement.

Kathleen Campbell, the Professor & Director of Audiology Research at the SIU School of Medicine has more information on how d-met can help:

Aminoglycoside-induced ototoxicity can cause permanent hearing impairment in approximately one third of patients receiving these antibiotics, sometimes limiting therapeutic dosing. D-methionine (D-met), which we patented, licensed, and are now using in other FDA approved clinical trials, protects against amikacin- and gentamicin-induced hearing loss without antimicrobial interference in animal studies thus far.

D-met also seems to protect against noise induced tinnitus and cisplatin ototoxicity by increasing our ear’s threshold to damage. Further testing is still needed to determine proper administration.

For those who will be undergoing treatment in the future, this is great news. Many of the medications that cause ototoxicity are indispensable. Patients who are undergo these treatments are facing consequences steeper than hearing loss, but they may not have to make the tradeoff anymore.

For those who’ve already experienced hearing loss from ototoxicity, not all is lost. Hearing aids and cochlear implants are options that can restore hearing abilities.

Protection with Diet

Our bodies function as a unit, so all the food and nutrients that we consume is connected to every other part of our body. An overall healthy approach to maintaining your body will contribute to better hearing. That means proper nutrition, regular exercise and good listening habits will contribute to your hearing health.

Nothing can beat a healthy lifestyle, but if you are especially concerned for your hearing, you can conserve your hearing and boost some nutrients in your diet. Supplements are an option, but you can also check to ensure your diet is naturally providing these nutrients in adequate amounts through your everyday meals.

Folic Acid

Folic acid deficiency has been linked to high frequency hearing loss. Lentils, beans and leafy greens are superfoods of sorts. They can provide a solid cornerstone for any diet and they pack loads of folic acid.

Other Antioxidants

To reduce hearing harmful free-radicals, berries, carrots, beans (again), flax seeds and sweet potatoes provide loads of antioxidants like B12, Omega-3, and Vitamin A.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency causes osteopenia which can affect the tiny bones in your ear. Most animal products have some Vitamin D but wild caught salmon and mackerel are especially loaded with Vitamin D.


Increasing circulation to your ear is great. Exercise is an effective measure, but magnesium can help improve circulation too. Dark leafy greens, nuts, lentils, beans and mackerel are great sources of magnesium.

Notice a pattern?

All of these foods are probably something that have been part of your dinner before, but your mother was urging you to clear your plate before moving on to something sweet.

Alternatives to these foods might fit better into your diet. Instead of seeking out specific foods for a hearing healthy nutrient, you are probably best served by eating a healthy diet in general. If you don’t have a healthy lifestyle, the degeneration of your hearing health will be among many other health concerns. Check with a doctor or nutritionist to see what you can do to have a healthier lifestyle and your hearing will also benefit.