MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sung Kyun Park, Sc.D., M.P.H
Assistant Professor, Epidemiology
Assistant Professor, Environmental Health Sciences
Departments of Epidemiology and Environmental Health Sciences
University of Michigan School of Public Health
Ann Arbor, MI
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?
Answer: This study reports that persons who eat more dietary antioxidants (beta carotene and vitamin C) or magnesium have a lower risk of hearing loss. This finding was seen in the levels currently observed in the general US population and independent of demographic and socioeconomic factors, noise exposures from workplaces, recreations or firearms, and other potential risk factors.
MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Answer: Although our findings are new, our research questions were based on animal studies.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Answer: Prevalence and severity of hearing loss is expected to rise as the aging population grows. Our study suggests that a diet rich in yellow and orange vegetables and citrus fruit combined with magnesium-rich foods, such as green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains may contribute to a reduced risk of hearing loss.
What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Answer: Our study was conducted in a cross-sectional design, that is, dietary intake and hearing function were evaluated at the same time. This limits our ability to draw a conclusion that the observed association between nutrients and hearing loss is causal. Also, we cannot rule out a possibility of reverse causality: individuals may have had diet rich in antioxidants and/or magnesium due to severe hearing loss. Therefore, a prospective study that evaluates dietary intake at baseline and follow up the participants until they develop hearing loss is needed.