03 January 2011

Omega-3 may protect against hearing loss

Increased intakes of omega-3 fatty acids, and the fish which provide them, may reduce the risk of age-related hearing loss, according to a study from the University of Sydney.

Hearing loss is a common sensory disorder in many countries, but by increasing the weekly intake of omega-3 fatty acids, or the fish that provide them, people may actually lower the risk of hearing loss.

Australian researchers have observed that at least two servings of fish per week is associated with a 42% reduction in the risk of hearing loss in those over 50, compared with people who on average eat fish less than once per week.

Similar reductions were found with intakes of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, with increasing intakes associated with 14% reductions in the risk of age-related hearing loss (presbycusis).

?Dietary intervention with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids could prevent or delay the development of age-related hearing loss,? says Paul Mitchell, one of the authors of the research.

Eat more fish

Mitchell and his co-workers analysed data from 2,956 participants, which included dietary intakes of fish, and the omega-3 they contain, using food-frequency questionnaires.

Results showed an inverse association between total and long-chain omega-3 intakes and hearing loss, while increasing fish intakes also indicated a reduction in the risk of presbycusis, said the researchers.

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

Get news updates from hear-it