Omega-3 in age-related hearing loss


Age-related hearing loss is common in the older people and means a problem both for sufferers and for those who communicate with them. It is believed that it’s origin is in the cochlea (the auditory portion of the inner ear), that is highly vascularized. There are many factors that can predispose individuals to age-related hearing loss: the aging process itself, genetic risk factors, exposure to noise and disruptions to cochlear blood flow are the major causes (maintaining adequate blood flow to the cochlea is critical to its function).

Since a moderate association between cardiovascular events and hearing loss has been observed and long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids have shown to be protective against cardiovascular diseases, a group of researchers have explored the possible role of omega-3 in the health of the auditory system, on the basis that the properties of fatty acids may also be beneficial in maintaining adequate vascular supply to the cochlea and, hence, in preventing age-related hearing loss. They have analysed the data from a survey of age-related hearing loss (performed on 2956 participants aged 50 years or more, from 1997–1999 to 2002–2004) and their outcomes suggest that omega-3 fatty acids have a role in maintaining healthy auditory function: the higher dietary intakes of omega-3 were associated with a 24% decreased risk of developing hearing loss (in a period of 5 years).

Omega-3 fatty acids intake could prevent or delay the development of age-related hearing loss.



Gopinath B, Flood VM, Rochtchina E et al. Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids and fish and risk of age-related hearing loss. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Aug;92(2):416-421.


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