Eating fish has many health benefits. A new study from Brigham and Women's Hospital has discovered one more. Women who had two or more servings of fish a week were found to have a 20 percent decreased risk of hearing loss.
Researchers used data from Nurses’ Health Study II, which tracked the behaviors of nurses over several years. In the study, 65,215 women were followed from 1991 to 2009. Of these women, more than 11,600 developed hearing loss.
The nurses were between the ages of 27 and 42 when they were first surveyed about what they ate and drank. They were asked if they had any hearing trouble and if so, what age did they notice it occurred.
Women who consumed two or more servings of fish per week had a 20 percent lower risk of hearing loss as compared to women who rarely ate fish.
According to Dr. Sharon Curhan, a researcher at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and co-author of the study, the researchers thought that certain types of fish would be more protective than others but that was not found to be true.
"Eating any type of fish — whether it's tuna, dark fish [like salmon] or light fish was a associated with a lower risk," said Curhan as reported by NPR.com.
"Higher fish consumption may help maintain adequate cochlear blood flow. This could help protect against hearing damage," Curhan went on to say.
This study has provided evidence that higher intake of fish and long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) may be linked with lower risk of developing hearing loss.
However, the hearing loss was self-reported by the women in the study. No hearing tests were performed to support their own perception.
NPR mentioned another hearing loss study where hearing loss was measured by actual audiometry testing in about 3,000 Australian men aged 50 and over. In that study they too found that eating fish reduced the men’s risk of hearing loss.
“There was an association between consumption of ≥1 to <2 servings/wk of fish and a reduced risk of a progression of hearing loss.”
Unfortunately, only one-third of Americans eat fish once a week, and almost half eat only occasionally eat fish or not at all, Curan stated.
Based on the results of these two studies it looks like eating more fish could have benefits in protecting our hearing.
The Brigham and Women's Hospital research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
Women Who Eat Fish Twice Weekly Cut Their Risk Of Hearing Loss. NPR.com. Retrieved Sept. 19, 2014.
Eat More Fish, Save Your Hearing? Two or more servings weekly might prevent or delay chronic health problem for women, research suggests. WebMD. Retrieved Sept. 19, 2014.
Fish, fatty acid consumption associated with lower risk of hearing loss in women. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from
Gopinath, Bamini et al. Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids and fish and risk of age-related hearing loss. Am J Clin Nutr August 2010 vol. 92 no. 2 416-421.
Sharon G Curhan, Roland D Eavey, Molin Wang, Eric B Rimm, and Gary C Curhan. Fish and fatty acid consumption and the risk of hearing loss in women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, September 2014 DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.114.091819.
Michele is an R.N. freelance writer with a special interest in woman’s healthcare and quality of care issues. Other articles by Michele are at http://contributor.yahoo.com/user/499625/michele_blacksberg.html
Edited by Jody Smith