Poor Nutrition Can Lead to Hearing Loss

We all know how important it is for children to grow up eating a balanced diet. Many parents have a challenge trying to get their kits to eat their veggies. However, a recent study pinpoints just how important nutrition is and one of the consequences could be hearing loss.

This new study that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that young adults that had poor nutrition were twice as lucky to have hearing loss than other children. The study was reviewed and approved by the institutional review boards at the Institute of Medicine, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA. The results included a follow-up of the study participants. The 4,765 children who participated in the study were younger than 5 years old at the baseline visit in 1989. These children were followed in subsequent years and only the ones remaining in the study were available for hearing assessments at the conclusion of the study. The following results were logged:

  • Indicators of early childhood wasting and stunting were consistently associated with a 1.8- to 2.2-fold higher risk of early-adult hearing loss.
  • An important distinction emerged in the risk associated with tympanometric (fluid in the ear) findings to suggest potentially distinct pathways underlying these associations.
  • Acute under-nutrition in early childhood, represented by a low BMI or thin arm circumference for age, was associated with both an ∼2-fold higher risk of hearing loss and a 1.4- to 1.8-fold increased risk of abnormal tympanometry.

As a result of this study, it is evident that nutrition at a young age is imperative for hearing health. In addition to the other consequences of poor nutrition, hearing loss is prevalent and can occur up to 2 times as much as children who have good nutrition.

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