These results indicate that in the proposed decline in mitochondrial function with age, senescence may be delayed by treatment with mitochondrial metabolites. Acetyl-l-carnitine and alpha-lipoic acid reduce age-associated deterioration in auditory sensitivity and improve cochlear function. This effect appears to be related to the mitochondrial metabolite ability to protect and repair age-induced cochlear mtDNA damage, thereby upregulating mitochondrial function and improving energy-producing capabilities.