29 April 2014

Healthy food, healthy hearing?

Calorie restriction may benefit hearing, according to a Swedish study.

Numerous diets and guidelines are universal. With advice and suggestions as to what to eat, what not to eat and the beneficial effects of a healthy diet, this may even extend to benefitting one’s hearing.

A Swedish study suggests that calorie restriction, besides having the effect of slowing down aging, may also be advantageous and valuable in relation to age-related hearing loss, also known as presbycusis.

In the study, thirty-month-old rats were put on a 70% dietary restriction and were compared to rats that were fed ad libitum. Besides having a 20% higher survival rate than the male rats, the results also showed that the female rats’ calorie restriction was beneficial to their auditory level.

The results therefore demonstrate that dietary restriction delays age-related degradation of the auditory system. The researchers hope to investigate the causes of age-related hearing loss even further and explore ways to delay or even prevent the disability in the future.

Acoustic reflexes

The rats that were subjected to calorie restriction showed several advantageous effects compared to the age-matched rats fed ad libitum. Not least that acoustic reflexes were preserved in 73% of the calorie restricted-rats. Furthermore, the degeneration of the cochlea tissue of these rats, known as stria vascularis, was also very limited.

About the study

The study was carried out by researcher Paula Mannström and her team of researchers from the Department of Neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. The study was published in the scientific journal “Experimental Gerontology”.

Earlier studies have shown that certain types of nutrition may protect against hearing loss, among these, folate, omega-3 and vitamin A.
Source: Audiology infos, no. 22, September 2013 and www.publications.ki.se

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