On July 16, 2018, the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published the results of a case study showing the resolution of hearing loss along with the improvement in school performance in a child who underwent chiropractic care.
According to the study, “Hearing impairment refers to the loss of a person’s ability to hear tones at a normal level and this can be a partial or total loss of the ability to perceive acoustic stimulus.” The study points out that hearing is typically measured at specific frequencies, commonly 250, 500, 1000, 2000, 4000 and 8000 Hz as these are the frequencies that our ears are especially sensitive to. A loss of hearing is expressed as decibels of hearing loss (dB) when compared to the hearing of the average person.
It is interesting to note that the very first chiropractic adjustment given in Davenport, Iowa, on September 18, 1895, was given to a man who had lost his hearing 17 years earlier. That first adjustment, given by Dr. D.D. Palmer, to a janitor, Harvey Lillard, restored the man’s hearing, and thus the profession of chiropractic was born.
In this case, a boy was brought to the chiropractor for a series of visits when the boy was 6-years-old, and again when he was 8-years-old. On each of those occasions, the boy was suffering from moderate hearing loss.
Prior to the child’s initial visit to the chiropractor, he had his hearing tested using Pure Tone Audiometry (PTA) to ascertain the level of hearing loss. The results of this test are given in decibels (dB) of pure-tone thresholds (PTTs), which indicate the softest sound the person being tested can hear at least 50% of the time. When first tested, the boy showed between a 30dB and 50dB hearing loss at various frequencies which classified him as a mild to moderate hearing loss. The medical recommendation made for the child was surgery to implant tubes into the ear canals. The parents rejected this recommendation and sought chiropractic care instead.
It was also noted that prior to the discovery of boy’s hearing loss, his teacher told his parents that their son was falling behind in class and that his speech was difficult to understand. The boy had been getting speech therapy for over a year with limited results.
Chiropractic care was started on the boy to specifically correct vertebral subluxations that were determined to be present. After 12 weeks of chiropractic care, the boy returned to an ENT specialist to have a follow up assessment of his hearing. On that test, it was determined that his hearing had improved to where the loss was only measured from between 5dB and 20dB leading the ENT to declare that they boy’s hearing had returned to normal.
After this episode of chiropractic and hearing recovery, the boy received infrequent chiropractic adjustments over the next two years. At that point, he was tested, and it was noted that there was once again a mild hearing loss. Because of this, more regular chiropractic care was restarted, and the boy’s hearing again returned to normal.
In their discussion the study authors note, “The association of chiropractic with hearing started back in 1895 when the first chiropractic adjustment was reported to have cured deafness.” They further concluded, “The patient’s hearing loss reversal in this study is consistent with the findings of the numerous papers published and the mechanisms discussed. This study demonstrates that chiropractic care may benefit/reverse hearing loss. Specific chiropractic adjustments to the spinal column to correct the vertebral subluxation can have positive effects on auditory processing.”