Good news! Your guilty pleasure may actually have health benefits. Research shows that, in certain quantities, drinking red wine could reduce or prevent hearing loss.
What Are the Benefits of Red Wine?
You may have heard that a glass of red wine now and then is good for your heart. That’s because red wine is packed with antioxidants and tannins, which can protect you against cardiovascular disease.
Red wine also contains resveratrol, which is an anti-inflammatory plant compound that tends to be concentrated in the skins and seeds of red grapes and certain berries, as well as dark chocolate and peanut butter. Resveratrol has been shown to have positive effects on cognition, blood fats, joint pain and even cancer. Researchers theorize it may also help preserve your hearing.
How Were the Effects of Red Wine Studied?
In 2013, Dr. Michael Seidman and his team at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit investigated the impact of resveratrol on hearing.
Researchers used rats to test their hypothesis. Some rats were fed resveratrol-rich diets and some were not, as a control. All rats were exposed to noise levels with the potential to cause hearing loss.
They found that the rats treated with resveratrol had 50 percent less hearing loss than the control group.
Researchers theorize that resveratrol’s anti-inflammation properties may help the delicate hair cells within the inner ear break down more slowly. These hair cells are responsible for converting soundwaves into electrical energy that the brain interprets as sound; once they die, they do not regenerate, which is why preserving them is essential for healthy hearing.
Dr. Seidman and his team have yet to conduct similar research on humans, but results of this lab trial are promising.
Does this Mean Red Wine Helps Hearing?
Before you stock up on too much red wine, remember that moderation is key. Heavy alcohol consumption is linked to cardiovascular disease – a well-established risk factor for hearing loss.
In addition, one study from 2007 found that drinking can affecting hearing in the 1000 Hz range, which is essential for speech discrimination. While this effect is usually temporary, researchers warn that repeated episodes can cause lasting damage, and that heavy drinking may speed up the normal process of age-related hearing loss.
If you’re a casual or social drinker, however, don’t feel bad about that glass or two of red wine – it may help your hearing and communication in the long run!
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Decibel Hearing today!