Sydney, Australia —A new study from Vanderbilt University Australia’s University of Sydney shows evidence that Vitamin A and E supplements may reduce the prevalence of age-related hearing loss up to 47%.

According to the researchers, diet is one of the few modifiable risk factors for age-related hearing loss. The authors’ goal was to examine the link between dietary and supplement intakes of antioxidants, and both the prevalence and 5-year incidence of measured hearing loss.

The researchers looked at a total of 2,956 participants in Sydney, aged 50 and above, who were examined during 1997 to 1999 and 2002 to 2004.

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 was collected in a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire, and calculations of intakes of α-carotene, β-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin; lycopene; vitamins A, C, and E; iron and zinc.

After adjusting for age, sex, smoking, education, occupational noise exposure, family history of hearing loss, and history of diagnosed diabetes and stroke, each standard deviation increase in dietary vitamin E intake was associated with a 14% reduced likelihood of prevalent hearing loss.

Those in the highest quintile of dietary vitamin A intake had a 47% reduced risk of having moderate or greater hearing loss, compared to those in the lowest quintile of intake. However, dietary antioxidant intake was not associated with the 5-year incidence of hearing loss.

The authors concluded that “dietary vitamin A and vitamin E intake was significantly associated with the prevalence of hearing loss. However, dietary antioxidant intake did not increase the risk of incident hearing loss.”

The authors also noted that further large, prospective studies are warranted to assess these relationships in older adults.

The study, “Dietary antioxidant intake is associated with the prevalence but not incidence of age-related hearing loss,” was published in the July edition of The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging.

The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging