Serum levels of retinol and other antioxidants for hearing impairment among Japanese older adults

Takehiro Michikawa, Yuji Nishiwaki, Yuriko Kikuchi, Kanae Hosoda, Kunio Mizutari, Hideyuki Saito, Keiko Asakura, Ai Milojevic, Satoko Iwasawa, Makiko Nakano, Toru Takebayashi

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Background. The objective of this study was to assess the relation between serum levels of retinol and other antioxidants and hearing impairment in Japanese older adults. Methods. This is a community-based cross-sectional study comprising 762 residents aged 65 years or older in Kurabuchi, Gumma, Japan. We measured serum retinol and other antioxidants (alpha- and gamma-tocopherols, and carotenoids including beta-cryptoxanthin, alpha- and beta-carotenes, lycopene, and lutein plus zeaxanthin) by high-performance liquid chromatography and divided each measurement into quartiles. Hearing impairment was defined as a failure to hear a 30-dB hearing level (HL) signal at 1 kHz and a 40-dB HL signal at 4 kHz in the better ear in pure-tone audiometric tests. The odds ratios (OR) for hearing impairment were calculated for each of the upper three quartiles of retinol and other antioxidant levels relative to the lowest quartile. Results. Crude analysis showed that serum levels of retinol and provitamin A carotenoids (beta-cryptoxanthin, and alpha- and beta-carotenes) were inversely related to the prevalence of hearing impairment. The multiadjusted ORs (95% confidence intervals) for the highest quartile of retinol and the provitamin A family (combinations of provitamin A carotenoids) compared with the lowest were 0.51 (0.26-1.00) and 0.53 (0.27-1.02), respectively. A dose-response relationship was observed for retinol (p =.03) and provitamin A (p =.09). Conclusion. Increased serum levels of retinol and provitamin A carotenoids were clearly associated with a decreased prevalence of hearing impairment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)910-915
Number of pages6
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Aug 1



  • Aged
  • Hearing
  • Japan
  • Provitamin A
  • Retinol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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