Hearing loss is the most common sensory disorder in the United States, afflicting more than 36 million people. Higher intakes of vitamins C, E, beta carotene, B12, and folate have been proposed to reduce the risk of hearing loss.
We prospectively evaluated the association between intake from foods and supplements of vitamins C, E, beta carotene, B12, and folate, and the incidence of hearing loss.
Health Professionals Follow-up Study.
A total of 26,273 men aged 40 to 74 years at baseline in 1986. Participants completed questionnaires about lifestyle and medical history every two years and diet every four years. Information on self-reported professionally diagnosed hearing loss and year of diagnosis was obtained from the 2004 questionnaire, and cases were defined as hearing loss diagnosed between 1986 and 2004. Cox proportional hazards multivariate regression was used to adjust for potential confounders.
There were 3559 cases of hearing loss identified. Overall, there was no significant association between vitamin intake and risk of hearing loss. Among men aged > or =60 years, total folate intake was associated with a reduced risk of hearing loss; the relative risk for men aged > or =60 years old in the highest quintile compared with the lowest quintile of folate intake was 0.79 (95% confidence interval 0.65-0.96).
Higher intake of vitamin C, E, beta carotene, or B12 does not reduce the risk of hearing loss in adult males. Men aged > or =60 years may benefit from higher folate intake to reduce the risk of developing hearing loss.