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Association of Chocolate Consumption with Hearing Loss and Tinnitus in Middle-Aged People Based on the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2012–2013

1
Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul 03080, Korea
2
Medical Research Collaborating Center, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul 03080, Korea
3
Sensory Organ Research Institute, Seoul National University Medical Research Center, Seoul 03080, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2019, 11(4), 746; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11040746
Received: 2 March 2019 / Revised: 19 March 2019 / Accepted: 22 March 2019 / Published: 30 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cocoa, Chocolate and Human Health)
Chocolate, which is produced from cocoa, exerts antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that ameliorate neurodegenerative diseases. We hypothesized that chocolate consumption would protect against hearing loss and tinnitus. We evaluated the hearing and tinnitus data, as well as the chocolate consumption, of middle-aged participants (40–64 years of age) of the 2012–2013 Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. All of the subjects underwent a medical interview, physical examination, audiological evaluation, tinnitus questionnaire, and nutrition examination. A total of 3575 subjects 40–64 years of age were enrolled. The rate of any hearing loss (unilateral or bilateral) in the subjects who consumed chocolate (26.78% (338/1262)) was significantly lower than that in those who did not (35.97% (832/2313)) (p < 0.001). Chocolate consumption was independently associated with low odds of any hearing loss (adjusted odds ratio = 0.83, 95% confidence interval = 0.70 to 0.98, p = 0.03). Moreover, the severity of hearing loss was inversely correlated with the frequency of chocolate consumption. In contrast to chocolate, there was no association between hearing loss and the consumption of sweet products without cocoa. Chocolate consumption was also not associated with tinnitus or tinnitus-related annoyance. Our results suggest that a chocolate-based diet may protect middle-aged people from hearing loss. View Full-Text
Keywords: chocolate; hearing loss; tinnitus; cohort study chocolate; hearing loss; tinnitus; cohort study
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Lee, S.-Y.; Jung, G.; Jang, M.-J.; Suh, M.-W.; Lee, J.; Oh, S.-H.; Park, M.K. Association of Chocolate Consumption with Hearing Loss and Tinnitus in Middle-Aged People Based on the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2012–2013. Nutrients 2019, 11, 746.

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