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Eating More Fish Lowers Risk of Hearing Loss

Hear this! A study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital shows that consumption of two or more servings of fish per week is associated with a lower risk of hearing loss in women.

Published online, September 10, in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (doi: 10.3945/ ajcn.114.091819), this prospective study examined over time the independent associations between consumption of total and specific types of fish, long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), and self-reported hearing loss in women.

“Acquired hearing loss is a highly prevalent and often disabling chronic health condition,” said corresponding author Sharon G. Curhan, MD, of BWH Channing Division of Network Medicine. “Although a decline in hearing is often considered an inevitable aspect of aging, the identification of several potentially modifiable risk factors has provided new insight into possibilities for prevention or delay of acquired hearing loss.”

Data came from the Nurses’ Health Study II, a prospective cohort study. In the study, 65,215 women were followed from 1991 to 2009. After 1,038,093 person-years of follow-up, 11,606 cases of incident hearing loss were reported. In comparison with women who rarely consumed fish, women who consumed two or more servings of fish per week had a 20% lower risk of hearing loss. When specific fish types were examined individually, higher consumption was inversely associated with risk for each type. Higher intake of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids was also inversely associated with risk of hearing loss.

“Consumption of any type of fish (tuna, dark fish, light fish, or shellfish) tended to be associated with lower risk. These findings suggest that diet may be important in the prevention of acquired hearing loss,” said Curhan.

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