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Omega-3 fatty acids may protect against hearing loss

June 11, 2010

Increased intakes of omega-3 fatty acids from fish may reduce the risk of age-related hearing loss, suggests a new Australian study.

The study analyzed the dietary intakes of fish and the omega-3 fatty acids they contain among 2,956 participants using food-frequency questionnaires (1). The results showed that at least two servings of fish per week were associated with a 42 percent reduction in the risk of hearing loss in those over 50, compared with people who average less than one serving per week.

In addition, increased intakes of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids were associated with 14 percent reductions in the risk of age-related hearing loss.

Hearing loss occurs when the tiny hairs inside the ear, which are responsible for picking up sound waves and changing them into nerve signals that the brain interprets as sound, are damaged or die. These hair cells do not regrow, making most hearing loss permanent.

References

  1. Gopinath B. et al. Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids and fish and risk of age-related hearing loss. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2010.