Ear ‘tickling’ could help slow ageing

Post on 3rd September 2019

Have you heard of ear ‘tickling’?

It sounds like fun but refers to sending small electrical currents into the ear. A new study suggests this therapy could rebalance the nervous system in the over-55s to help them age more healthily.

Researchers at the University of Leeds found that stimulation of the vagus nerve, which connects to the heart, lungs and gut, led to improvements in body, sleep and mood.

The small study involved 29 healthy volunteers aged 55 and over who were given this painless, if ticklish, stimulation for 15 minutes a day over two weeks and the results proved promising. Further research is planned to investigate the long-term health benefits..

The vagus nerve transmits information from the brain to organs around the body and is also fundamental to the body’s autonomic nervous system which can become out of balance as we age.

Lead study author Dr Beatrice Bretherton, from the university’s School of Biomedical Sciences, described the ear as like a gateway through which they could tinker with the body’s metabolic balance, without the need for medication or invasive procedures.

She believes the results are just the tip of the iceberg. It will be interesting to see what the future holds with further research into the therapy which is called transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation (tVNS).

At Scrivens we can’t offer ear tickling but we do give professional and friendly advice on looking after your ears and keeping them healthy.

An annual hearing health check is recommended for anyone over 50. Our branches provide a free NHS hearing service for people who are eligible and have been referred by their GP.