Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids and fish and risk of age-related hearing loss – Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Jun 9, 2010

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Background: Identification of modifiable risk factors that could prevent or slow the development of age-related hearing loss (presbycusis) would be valuable. Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) intake may be related to age-related hearing loss.

Objective: We aimed to determine the association between dietary intakes of omega-3 (n-3) PUFAs and fish and the risk of presbycusis.

Design: The Blue Mountains Hearing Study is a population-based survey of age-related hearing loss (1997-1999 to 2002-2004). We collected dietary data by using a semiquantitative food-frequency questionnaire and calculated PUFA and fish intakes. In 2,956 participants (aged 50 or older), we measured presbycusis, which we defined as the pure-tone average of frequencies 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, and 4.0 kHz >25 decibels of hearing loss.

Results: There was an inverse association between total n-3 PUFA intake and prevalent hearing loss [odds ratio (OR) per SD increase in energy-adjusted n-3 PUFAs: 0.89; 95% CI: 0.81, 0.99].

There was an inverse association between long-chain n-3 PUFAs and incident hearing loss (OR per SD increase in long-chain n-3 PUFAs: 0.76; 95% CI: 0.60, 0.97).

Participants who had 2 or more servings of fish per week compared with participants who had less than 1 serving of fish per week had a significantly reduced risk (42%) of developing presbycusis at follow-up (multivariate-adjusted OR: 0.58; 95% CI: 0.35, 0.95).

There was an association between consumption of >/=1 to <2 servings/wk of fish and a reduced risk of a progression of hearing loss (OR: 0.53; 95% CI: 0.32, 0.88).

Conclusions: There was an inverse association between higher intakes of long-chain n-3 PUFAs and regular weekly consumption of fish and hearing loss. Dietary intervention with n-3 PUFAs could prevent or delay the development of age-related hearing loss.

Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Jun 9, 2010. PMID: 20534742, by Gopinath B, Flood VM, Rochtchina E, McMahon CM, Mitchell P. Centre for Vision Research, Department of Ophthalmology, Westmead Millennium Institute, and Menzies Centre for Health Policy, University of Sydney; Faculty of Health and Behavioral Science, University of Wollongong; Centre for Language Sciences, Linguistics Department, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. [Email: paul.mitchell@sydney.edu.au]

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