The Surprising Way to Protect Your Hearing as You Age

Dr. Frank Shallenberger, MD

September 19, 2022


I always thought hearing loss was just a result of being around loud noise when you were younger. But I’m learning that there is often much more to it than that.

Several weeks ago, I had no less than three different people complaining that their hearing was decreasing. And all three of them had no history at all of being around loud noises.

So what was causing their problem? And is there a way to stop the loss before it gets worse? A little research has helped me find some answers to those questions.

The data comes from the Blue Mountains Hearing Study. This is a long-term study that has been looking at 2,956 older men and women to find out the various factors that can lead to age-related hearing loss. One of the things they looked at was the effect of fish oils.

It turns out that there is a very strong effect on hearing from fish oils. The people who were eating two or more servings of fish per week were 42% less likely to have hearing loss than those who ate fish less than once a week.

And this is important: The effect was dose-related. This means that as people ate progressively more fish, their risk for hearing loss progressively decreased. The authors said, “Dietary intervention with omega-3 fish oils could prevent or delay the development of age-related hearing loss.”

So let me encourage you to eat more fish as you get older. The omega-3 oils in fish protect against almost every problem you can get as you get older. That’s why for the last 30 years, I have recommended to all my patients that they take fish oils supplements on a regular basis.

Make sure you use a high-quality product to ensure the oil hasn’t become rancid.


Gopinath, B., V.M. Flood, E. Rochtchina, et al. “Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids and fish and risk of age-related hearing loss.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 August;92(2):416-21.

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