Your Ear is One of the Most Powerful and Delicate Organs You Have
How to Care for Your Ear’s Health
By Rafaele Joudry
Innovative doctors are making radical new discoveries about the resilience of the ear and its vital role in our overall health. Dr. Paul Yanick Jr is a world authority on the biochemical functioning of the ear. He describes the ear as a miraculous organ combining hydraulic and electrochemical energy systems which are far more complex than the latest space age computer devices. Dr. Alfred Tomatis, through fifty years of clinical research, concluded that the ear serves not only as the organ of hearing and balance, but also plays a vital role in recharging and replenishing our brain’s energy. Through its connections with our cranial nerves, the ear interchanges with many other organs, serving as a telephone linkup system to other parts of the body. The ear cannot be looked at in isolation as it is part of our incredible biochemical complexity, a fragile and vital component, and one which often signals when there are problems in other areas.
Since hearing loss often occurs with aging, it is sometimes assumed that this process is inevitable. This is not necessarily true. Much of the ill health which occurs with aging, including ear problems, can be avoided with preventative metabolic treatment.
Another incorrect assumption is that if your parents also had a condition, it is genetic and therefore unavoidable. The first lesson of scientific reasoning is that just because two events occur in sequence does not mean that one caused the other. They may both be caused by a third external factor. Most diseases attributed to genetics today are in fact due to bad lifestyle and dietary factors repeated by each generation. Genetic weaknesses may predispose a person to a condition, but the manifestation of the condition can as often as not be prevented by a change in behavior.
The ear needs nutrients
The ear is often referred to as the most energy-hungry organ of the body. All parts of the ear require high quantities of nutrients to function properly. Lined, as it is, with supersensitive receptor cells, delicate hydraulic systems, and fluid chambers, it is a wonder of electrochemical and mechanical micro-engineering. Only if the right chemicals and enzymes are present can the nerves successfully fire the signals at the precise millisecond intervals required to accurately transmit sound.
All the chemical reactions of the cells require oxygen and rely on the tiny electron processors or energy generators called mitochondria. There are over 100,000 mitochondria in each cell of the body. For the required energy reactions to occur, a sequence of enzymes must pass electrons down from one mitochondrion to the next. This assembly line is called the electron transport chain or ETC. The energy result of this process is to produce changes in electrons so that glucose molecules are converted into high energy compounds such as triphosphate or ATP.
Coenzyme Q10 is an essential component of virtually every cell in the production of ATP.
Unwanted chemical reactions may be caused by unstable molecules called free radicals. If there are too many free radicals in the body the electrons are unbalanced and the chain is upset just as if an influenza epidemic went through the factory. The stealing of electrons from other molecules causes serious disturbances in the delicate mechanisms of the inner ear. Too much noise exposure or pollution causes these free radical chain reactions and brings about damage to the delicate cells in the inner ear.
While noise damage plays a major role in many tinnitus cases, other very common contributing causes are lymph and liver toxicity and biochemical imbalances caused by diet, stress, drugs and digestive disorders. All parts of the ear require highly concentrated nutrients to effectively deliver accurate sound signals to the brain. Nowhere in our bodies do nutritional deficiencies produce more obvious or annoying results than in our ears.
The inner ear cells require a very delicate chemical balance for sound to be successfully conveyed to the brain. If the nerve cells are not receiving the necessary nutrients to keep them in balance and functioning correctly, they become deprived of oxygen. They then become blocked up with calcium, just as unhealthy arteries do, and die. But before the cells die they send out disturbed electrical signals resulting in tinnitus.
The chemical basis of hearing
In a normal, healthy ear the otoacoustic emissions are inhibited by a chemical messenger called acetylcholine. This chemical messenger travels to a nerve receptor site composed of five proteins arranged like a five-petalled flower. These proteins enclose a central channel that penetrates the core of the flower shaped nerve receptor sites. A reaction is triggered when an acetylcholine molecule binds to two of these proteins. Like a camera shutter, the channel then opens for a thousandth of a second, allowing 10,000 positively charged sodium ions to rush through the channel into the nerve cell. Their arrival changes its electrical state, thus prompting sound to be transmitted to the brain for interpretation. A defective acetylcholine receptor will adversely affect the fidelity of the sound signal received.
The delicate balance of this system can be upset by
- insufficient oxygen due to poor circulation in the inner ear
- a deficiency in the trace minerals essential for enzyme activity,
- a toxic overload being carried by the body, or
- excessive free radical activity.
The middle ear
Most middle ear problems are due to the imperfect performance of either the bones or the muscles of the middle ear. The common bone disorder, otosclerosis is actually a misnomer, most ENT doctors agree. The problem is not that the bones harden but that they become porous and spongy. Research into this condition has revealed deficiencies in amino acids and minerals. The preferred medical approach of cutting out and replacing the bones could be avoided if this nutritional deficiency had been addressed earlier.
Calcium supplementation only works if it is combined with the right trace minerals, vitamins and enzymes and is in a naturally derived and easily bioavailable form. It is also important to ensure that calcium is not being leached from the bones faster than it is being absorbed. There is no point bolting the door after the horse has bolted. Too many processed foods and accumulations of toxic metals destroy phosphorous which is necessary for the absorption of calcium. For example, aluminum causes the body to dump large amounts of calcium in the urine. Most Westerners consume up to 20 mg of aluminum per day, in baking powder, deodorant, drugs, food additives and through using aluminum cookware. Avoiding aluminum wherever possible is an essential part of metabolic ear treatment.
Lead toxicity is another cause of calcium deficiency. There is a high lead content in hair dye, so to be safe, go natural. Many other chemical toxins are found in common bathroom products and may lead to long-term diseases. Make sure your bathroom is safe by buying products informed by biochemical research and a commitment to nontoxic ingredients.
As well as correcting dietary and environmental factors, the middle ear muscles can be massaged and strengthened by listening to Sound Therapy, leading to improved function. The special recording technique of Sound Therapy presents the ear with constantly alternating sounds of high and low tone. This forces the hammer and stirrup muscles of the middle ear to alternately tense and relax, which improves their tonality.
The cochlea is the spiral-shaped inner ear chamber containing the hearing organ, which relays sound directly to the auditory nerve. The cochlea deals with electrochemical processes in which electrically charged ions interact in complex ways between the various fluid filled compartments to generate electrical charges. The electrical stability of the cochlea depends upon the presence of minerals such as magnesium and calcium, and on a correct balance of necessary enzymes, fatty acids and amino acids.
The tiny, hair-like cells called cilia are the final stage of sound transmission before the charge is relayed to the auditory nerve. Slight disturbances in the equilibrium of enzymes can lead to the death of a cilia. This is the beginning of what is known as sensorineural hearing loss or nerve deafness. Tinnitus can also be caused by cilia damage because when the hair cells lack certain nutrients they produce continuous noises like the feedback from a microphone. However, clinical evidence gathered by a range of holistic practitioners shows that these conditions can be reversed, at least to some extent, in most cases by consistent, significant dietary changes combined with Sound Therapy.
Much ear damage is due to the process called oxidation which results from free radical activity. It is caused by environmental pollution, biochemical imbalances and loud noise. Free radicals are unpaired electrons which in turn steal electrons from other cells. This causes a chain reaction of cellular breakdown called oxidation, which is the same as the process of rust as seen on metal. This breakdown of cells causes serious electrical disturbances in the inner ear causing great harm to the delicate filaments and membranes of our hearing organ. It can be counteracted by avoiding toxic substances and taking sufficiently high doses of antioxidants. Antioxidants prevent free radical damage just as lemon juice, which contains vitamin C prevents an apple from turning brown.
The lymphatic system
The incredible complexity of the ear, which is still being unraveled, stems in part from its interconnection with the lymphatic system. The mechanical bone and muscle chain of the middle ear interacts with the hydraulic lymph system in the inner ear.
The meeting point is at the oval window where the stirrup bone presses in like a piston, impacting on the pressure of the inner ear fluid. The ear contains various types of lymph fluid, each consisting of a particular combination of electrolytes or mineral elements. A major function of the lymph system is to carry toxins out of the organs and deliver them into the colon. For the lymph fluid to circulate easily it must be of a thin, watery consistency. However, it can become congested with mucous if the digestive system is working inefficiently and overloading the lymphatic system with waste products. This can result in swollen lymph glands and sensations of pressure or fullness in the ear. Then we have to ask, is the colon doing its job?
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