Study: Poor Childhood Nutrition Increase Chance of Hearing Loss

Estimated 80 percent of hearing loss occurs in low/middle-income nations

A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that young adults who were malnourished or undernourished in early childhood were approximately twice as likely to suffer hearing loss than their peers.

The study, led by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, analyzed more than 2,200 young adults in Nepal. They evaluated each individual’s hearing ability and compared it with their nutritional levels as young children 16 years earlier. Findings suggest that nutritional interventional could help curtail the hearing loss issues that permeate Southeast Asia, with an estimated 116 million young people in the region affected.

Hearing loss, according to researchers, is the fourth-leading cause of disability worldwide, and is particularly prevalent in low or middle-income countries.

“Our findings should help elevate hearing loss as a still-neglected public health burden, and one that nutrition interventions in early childhood might help prevent,” said Keith West, Jr., professor of International Health at the Bloomberg School. West served as principal investigator of the study.

The study was several decades in the making. These young adults’ hearing levels were tested between 2006 and 2008—many years after each had participated in a nutritional trial between 1989 and 1991.

SOURCE: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

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