Study Supports Folic Acid for Hearing Loss

December 7, 2010

Folic acid intake appears strongly associated with scores on a common hearing test.

Research has emerged which suggests that low folic acid levels may result in age-related hearing loss (ARHL). The results are published in the December issue of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery.

Nigerian researchers assessed levels of folic acid (folate) and vitamin B12 (cobalamin) in elderly subjects (over 60 years old) with and without ARHL.

Pure tone average (PTA), the ability to hear a variety of audio frequencies, was measured to assess hearing threshold in subjects.

ARHL subjects exhibited much lower PTA scores than those with normal hearing. In speech frequencies, this difference was a mean of 279.1 nmol/L  for low PTA compared to a mean of 412.3 nmol/L for normal PTA.

The disparities of PTA levels were also significantly associated with folate and B12 (cyanocobalamin) levels.

After adjusting for age, just folate was considered as having a significant association to PTA.

“Serum folate was significantly lower among elderly with [age-related hearing loss],” wrote the study’s author. “Trials on nutritional supplementation may substantiate the role of serum folate in ARHL.”

To read the study’s abstract, click here.