Vitamin B3 supplementation could potentially help prevent noise-induced hearing loss by enhancing the activity of a specific protein linked to impaired hearing, according to researchers.
Noise-induced hearing loss occurs when the synapses that join the hair cells and nerves the cochlea become damaged. But a new study conducted on mice suggests this type of hearing loss can be prevented with a simple chemical compound called nicotinamide ribsoside (NR), identified as a precursor of Vitamin B3, which protects the nerves that stimulate the cochlea.
The study, conducted by scientists from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, used NR to preserve the nerves that supply the cochlea. These nerves are particularly important because the cochlea is responsible for the transmission of sound information to the spiral ganglion, which feeds messages to the brain. The study findings indicate that use of NR prevents damage to these important nerves, which are easily damaged by loud noises.
The scientists who carried out this remarkable research gave mice NR before and after exposure to loud noises. Results indicated that NR was successful at protecting these synaptic connections, preventing both short-term and long-term hearing loss. The findings also revealed that NR was equally successful regardless of whether it was administered before or after noise exposure.
“One of the major limitations in managing disorders of the inner ear, including hearing loss, is there are a very limited number of treatment of options,” explained lead scientist Kevin Brown. “This discovery identifies a unique way.
Brown and his team have indicated this exciting discovery has significant implications not only for noise-induced hearing loss, but also potentially for reversal of some age-related conditions that are linked to the same protein.
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