A new study shows vitamin E may be effective in restoring sudden onset hearing loss. Researchers say sudden hearing loss, occurs within three days or less. The cause of the sudden hearing loss can be identified in only 10 percent to 15 percent of the cases, which includes viral and bacterial diseases, and metabolic, neurologic and immunologic sources. The rest of the cases are termed idiopathic, in which case there is no known cause.
Previous research shows antioxidants could prevent consequences of damage in the inner ears of animals. With this evidence, researchers assumed antioxidants could reduce the damage and enhance recovery of idiopathic sudden hearing loss.
Sixty-six participants were enrolled in the study within eight days from onset of the hearing loss. They were all treated with bed rest, magnesium, inhalation of carbogen and steroids, and the patients in the study group received 400 milligrams of twice-daily vitamin E in addition. The success of the treatment, defined as improvement of 75 percent or more, was better in the study group (about 78 percent vs. about 45 percent). This was also true at follow-up. However, the difference in complete recovery between the groups was insignificant.
Thus researchers say further studies should be done in this area to get a better understanding of the role of antioxidants in idiopathic sudden hearing loss and determining the most effective antioxidant and its optimal dose.