Can Meditation Help Hearing Loss?
In the book Altruism by Matthieu Ricard, discovering that the Vagus Nerve is an important aspect of mind body health, one sentence in particular stood out:
"It also adjusts the muscles in the middle ear that allow's us to concentrate on someone's voice in the midst of ambient noise".
Altruism by Matthieu Ricard Calming Down and Opening Up to Others: The Role of the Vagus Nerve pg 72
Anyone with a typical high tone hearing loss knows the feeling of trying to follow a conversation in difficult to hear places. It requires a massive effort and often ends with us giving up - not because we are not interested in the conversation but because it is a strain to listen.
Also learning the relationship of the Vagus Nerve to Vagus Tone which is a measure of one's breathing rate to one'e heart rate. People who's heart rate speeds up when they breathe in and slows when they breathe out have a high vegus tone which is a health benefit.
So could it be that meditation which is proven to have a beneficial effect on vegus tone also has a benefit to hearing - well it turns out there are some studies that indicate this to be the case.
Hence if you are already inclined towards yoga and meditation this may be an area of exploration for you.
"The vagus nerve is a mixed nerve with both sensory and motor functions. It is the longest of the cranial nerves as it extends from the brain stem, through the muscles of the mouth, neck, thorax, lungs, and abdomen. The vagus nerve conveys sensory information about the state of the body’s organs to the nervous system."
"Hearing loss may result from damage to the branch of the vagus nerve that innervates the concha of the ear."
Research Suggests Enhanced Auditory and Cognitive Skills for Meditators
"The above literature provides intriguing evidence relative to the positive effects of meditation on cognition and auditory skills."
"The literature also provides evidence for better temporal resolution skill and speech perception in noise in meditators compared to non-meditators."
"While it may be beyond the role of hearing care professionals to recommend meditation or yoga as a hearing rehabilitation option, the authors believe it could be encouraged for patients already familiar with it, as well as other receptive individuals—particularly those facing reduced cognitive abilities."
Research Suggests Enhanced Auditory and Cognitive Skills for Meditators - HearingReview.com April 29 2016
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