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Study: Healthy Diet May Reduce Hearing Loss in Women

U.S. News & World Report logo U.S. News & World Report 5/11/2018 Alexa Lardieri
Woman having food at restaurant table.: Researchers studied the relationship between hearing loss and the Alternate Mediterranean diet, the DASH diet and the Alternative Healthy Eating Index-2010. © (Morsa Images/Getty Images) Researchers studied the relationship between hearing loss and the Alternate Mediterranean diet, the DASH diet and the Alternative Healthy Eating Index-2010.

Adhering to a healthy diet may reduce the risk of hearing loss in women, a new study from Brigham and Women's Hospital found.

The study, Adherence to Healthful Dietary Patterns Is Associated with Lower Risk of Hearing Loss in Women, was published Friday in The Journal of Nutrition. It examined the relationship between hearing loss and three different diets: The Alternate Mediterranean diet (AMED), Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), and the Alternative Healthy Eating Index-2010 (AHEI-2010).

Researchers followed 81,818 women for 22 years and found that women who closely followed the AMED and DASH diets had about a 30 percent lower risk of moderate or worse hearing loss, compared to women who didn't follow these dietary guidelines.

Additionally, the study concluded, based on a sub-cohort of 33,000 women who gave more detailed reports of hearing information, that the amount of reduced risk of hearing loss could be greater than 30 percent, and also relate to the AHEI-2010 diet.

"Interestingly, we observed that those following an overall healthy diet had a lower risk of moderate or worse hearing loss," Dr. Sharon Curhan, an epidemiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital and first author of the study, said in a press release. "Eating well contributes to overall good health, and it may also be helpful in reducing the risk of hearing loss."

A Mediterranean diet consists of mainly fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, legumes, olive oil, fish and seafood. It saves sweets and red meat for special occasions and allows cheeses and yogurts in moderation. The DASH diet is high in fruits and vegetables, moderate in dairy, meat, poultry and fish and low in fats, oils and sweets.

The AHEI-2010 diet has similar components to both the AMED and DASH diets.

The authors of the study say more research needs to be done on additional populations, but, from this study, they can conclude: "Consuming a healthy diet may be helpful in reducing the risk of acquired hearing loss."

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