Prospective study of alcohol consumption and self-reported hearing loss in women.Alcohol 2015; 49(1):71-7A
Chronic excess alcohol intake has been associated with irreversible hearing loss and acute alcohol intake may temporarily impair auditory function; however, some evidence suggests that long-term moderate alcohol intake may be related to lower risk of hearing loss. This study prospectively examined the association between total alcohol and individual alcoholic beverage consumption and risk of hearing loss in women. Data were prospectively collected from 65,424 participants in the Nurses' Health Study II (NHS II), aged 27-44 years at baseline (follow-up 1991-2009). Alcohol consumption was assessed using a validated questionnaire every 4 years. An incident case was defined as a self-reported hearing problem that began after 1991. Cox proportional hazards multivariate regression was used to adjust for potential confounders. During 1,024,555 person-years of follow-up, 12,384 cases of hearing loss occurred. After multivariate adjustment, there was no significant association between total alcohol consumption and risk of hearing loss. In exploratory analyses, beer consumption was associated with increased risk and wine consumption was associated with reduced risk. No significant association was observed for consumption of liquor. Total alcohol consumption is not associated with risk of hearing loss in women. The modest associations observed for beer (direct) and wine (inverse) may be due to chance or residual confounding but merit further study.