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Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Jun;99(6):1407-13. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.072793. Epub 2014 Mar 19.

Dietary vitamin intake correlates with hearing thresholds in the older population: the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

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From the Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea (JWK and JYC); the Department of Otorhinolaryngology, National Health Insurance Corporation Ilsan Hospital, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea (HSC); and the Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Hallym University College of Medicine, Kangdong Sacred Heart Hospital, Seoul, South Korea (KK).



Previous animal studies have shown that vitamins may prevent age-related hearing loss. However, no concrete conclusions have been reached about the association between vitamin intake and presbycusis in humans.


We investigated the association between dietary vitamin intake and hearing thresholds in adults between 50 and 80 y of age by using data from a large population-based survey.


We used data from the 2011 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. A pure-tone audiogram and physical examination of the ear were performed, and vitamin intake was calculated by using the 24-h recall method. Data from 1910 participants were analyzed through univariate and multivariate linear regression analyses.


After adjustment for age, sex, smoking, and exposure to occupational and explosive noise, intake of vitamin C correlated with better hearing at midfrequency (2000 and 3000 Hz) (coefficient: -0.012; 95% CI: -0.022, -0.002). Dietary supplement use was positively associated with better hearing at all frequencies. The univariate analysis indicated that dietary intakes of retinol, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin C were positively correlated with better hearing at most frequencies. In contrast, serum concentrations of vitamin D were associated with worse hearing at mid and high (4000 and 6000 Hz) frequencies.


Dietary intake of vitamin C was associated with better hearing in the older population. Because less than one-half of elderly participants in this study consumed a sufficient amount of vitamins, and vitamin intake decreased with age, we should consider proper diet counseling to prevent hearing decline.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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