Moderate alcohol consumption and hearing threshold shifts: gender differences


Glass of red wine
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A team of researchers from several hospitals and scientific institutes in Taiwan has examined available data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) for the US adult population to clarify this topic.

Studies on the association between moderate alcohol consumption and hearing loss have provided inconsistent findings: some reports found a detrimental effect or positive association, some found a beneficial effect or negative association, while others still concluded that there was no clear association. Women are known to be more susceptible to the effects of alcohol than men because they have higher blood alcohol concentrations after drinking equivalent amounts.

The researchers therefore carried out their retrospective population study to shed light on the possible association and included data for the period 1999 to 2004 concerning 4,075 participants aged 20 to 69 years. They looked at the interactions between moderate alcohol consumption, hearing thresholds, and gender distribution in the dataset.

Somewhat counterintuitively, the analysis showed that current moderate-quantity female drinkers tended to have lower hearing thresholds. The group found that there is a significant protective effect of moderate alcohol consumption on hearing threshold shifts in the US adult population, especially in women. The authors recommend further research to examine this possible beneficial effect.

Source: Lin YY, et al. Gender Differences in the Association between Moderate Alcohol Consumption and Hearing Threshold Shifts. Scientific Reports 2017 May 19;7(1):2201.