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Dietary antioxidant intake is associated with the prevalence but not incidence of age-related hearing loss

Abstract

Objectives

Diet is one of the few modifiable risk factors for age-related hearing loss. We aimed to examine the link between dietary and supplement intakes of antioxidants, and both the prevalence and 5-year incidence of measured hearing loss.

Design

Cross-sectional and 5-year longitudinal analyses. Setting: Blue Mountains, Sydney, Australia.

Participants

2,956 Blue Mountains Hearing Study participants aged 50+ at baseline, examined during 1997–9 to 2002–4.

Measurements

Age-related hearing loss was measured and defined as the pure-tone average of frequencies 0.5, 1.0, 2.0 and 4.0 kHz >25 dB HL. Dietary data were collected in a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire, and intakes of -carotene; -carotene; -cryptoxanthin; lutein and zeaxanthin; lycopene; vitamins A, C and E; iron and zinc were calculated.

Results

After adjusting for age, sex, smoking, education, occupational noise exposure, family history of hearing loss, history of diagnosed diabetes and stroke, each standard deviation (SD) increase in dietary vitamin E intake was associated with a 14% reduced likelihood of prevalent hearing loss, odds ratio, OR, 0.86 (95% confidence interval, CI, 0.78–0.98). Those in the highest quintile of dietary vitamin A intake had a 47% reduced risk of having moderate or greater hearing loss (>40 dB HL) compared to those in the lowest quintile of intake, multivariable-adjusted OR 0.53 (CI 0.30–0.92), P for trend = 0.04. However, dietary antioxidant intake was not associated with the 5-year incidence of hearing loss.

Conclusions

Dietary vitamin A and vitamin E intake were significantly associated with the prevalence of hearing loss. However, dietary antioxidant intake did not increase the risk of incident hearing loss. Further large, prospective studies are warranted to assess these relationships in older adults.

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Correspondence to Paul Mitchell.

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Gopinath, B., Flood, V.M., McMahon, C.M. et al. Dietary antioxidant intake is associated with the prevalence but not incidence of age-related hearing loss. J Nutr Health Aging 15, 896–900 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12603-011-0119-0

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Key words

  • Age-related hearing loss
  • antioxidant
  • vitamin A
  • vitamin E
  • Blue Mountains Eye Study
  • Blue Mountains Hearing Study