The Royal National Institute for the Deaf (RNID), the prestigious advocacy group in the UK, released the results of a study funded by the organization and conducted at the University of Antwerp.
One of the largest studies of its kind examined a broad spectrum of the population smokers and non-smokers to determine the effects of tobacco use on hearing loss. (Get ready to put out that cig.) In its release to the media, the RNID emphatically stated that, Smoking is a risk factor in the development of age-related hearing loss, one of the largest ever studies into risk factors for hearing loss has found. (Cough! Cough! Excuse me!)
But wait, theres more. The study also revealed that being overweight also contributes to adult-onset hearing loss. (Bummer. Smokes and Ring-Dings are off limits.) The numbers are actually quite startling and sobering.
Puff! There goes your hearing
RNID Study Relates Hearing Loss to Cigarettes and Excess Weight
The RNID study, released in June, 2008, found a strong correlation between the use of tobacco and hearing loss. More surprising? The more you smoke, the less you hear as you grow older.
Here are some facts drawn from the study:
People who smoke for one year or more had worse hearing than those who never smoked.
The more you smoke (number of years multiplied by packs per day) the worse you hear, i.e., the effects are cumulative. Thats a good reason to quit right there.
The study revealed a correlation between being overweight and hearing loss.
- Hearing loss due to age can be minimized by eliminating tobacco and eating a healthier, low-calorie diet.
Dr. Mark Downs, RNIDs Executive Director of Technology and Enterprise stated, This exciting new research shows that youre not just harming your heart and lungs when you have a cigarette, you could be putting your hearing at risk, too.
Dr. Downs went on to point out a key factor in undertaking the study in the first place. With an aging population, age-related hearing loss (nerve deafness) is something that we need to take seriously. Losing your hearing in later life can make it harder to maintain contact with friends and families and lead to isolation and/or depression so making small concessions now could have an enormous effect long term.
Solutions? You already know them. The RNID spokesperson said, Making sure you keep your weight down and generally leading a healthy lifestyle is not only good for your heart, but also good for your ears.
How to Quit Smoking, Lose Weight and Hear Better In One Easy Lesson
Its fair to say that people, who still smoke in the face of all the scientific evidence proving that smoking is a killer, are less likely to take good care of themselves in general. So it isnt surprising that smokers may carry around some extra poundage. It kinda goes with the territory.
28% of Americans still smoke cigarettes, though some hide their secret sin by only smoking at home, outdoors, in the middle of a blizzard. (Sound a bit too familiar?)
35% of Americans are at least 10% over their ideal weight. The number jumps significantly when you eliminate that 10% window. The fact is that most of us could lose a few pounds, and many of us could lose many pounds to improve our health. So, lets look at the Healthy Hearing Official Guide to Quitting Smoking AND Losing Weight.
Lets begin with the concept of will power. Addiction to nicotine is as strong as a heroin addiction. People who have quit for eight or 10 years take up the habit again! Once a smoker, always a smoker. Even a single cigarette just for fun can send you back for your own pack years after you quit.
If you smoke and youre overweight, chances are you dont have the super-human will power to address both problems simultaneously. That takes a whole lot of psychic energy to keep up those levels of determination, so tackle problem one, then move on to problem two.
Problem one is smoking since its doing the most widespread damage systemic damage. Visit your physician. There are new medications that will eliminate those awful nicotine cravings that corrode your iron will.
Use whatever smoking cessation aid works for you. Some people prefer the patch, others prefer the gum while still others like the lozenges. Dont use all three but find the delivery system that works for you. These meds contain nicotine, calming the nerves. They work and they work better with each passing day.
Steer clear of other smokers the gang that gathers outdoors the office at 10:00 each morning. Its tough enough to quit without staring at that temptation.
Tell everyone that youve quit. Theres nothing like a little peer pressure and a lot of support from families and friends to keep you on track.
Dont try to quit by cutting back, going from 15 to 10 to five cigarettes a day. With smoking, its cold turkey, baby, but millions have done it and you can, too.
Figure if you go six months without a smoke, youre an ex-smoker whos already enjoying numerous health benefits thanks to your backbone and unshakeable resolve.
Now to those extra pounds
First, give yourself creds for the smoking thing. Doesnt it feel great to be part of the mainstream again. You no longer feel like an outlaw. Cool. Okay, now its not unusual for ex-smokers to put on a few pounds during nicotine withdrawal. Food becomes a substitute for nicotine.
First, dont kick yourself in the rump, even if it is a little broader than before. Youve quit smoking! (Sound FX: applause, applause).
Unlike smoking, you can transition from an unhealthy diet to a healthy diet. In fact, some nutritionists recommend a slow, gradual transition from unhealthy foods to more healthy foods. For example
you eat chips by the bag. Okay, switch to pretzels. Chips are deep-fried in FAT. Pretzels are baked. No fat. How hard was that?
Switch from whole milk to 2%, to 1% to fat-free over a period of a month or two. Youll eliminate a couple of hundred calories a day from your routine diet. Get the family involved. Everyone eats healthier.
Make changes in how you prepare foods. A baked potato contains 80 calories. The equivalent amount of food in French fry form comes to 330 calories and a bunch of fat that isnt good for the ol ticker.
Serve smaller portions on smaller plates. Fools the eye and the stomach. Eat your favorite foods. Just eat less of them, e.g. dont go back for thirds.
Brown bag it. Instead of eating out with the work crew, brown bag your lunch. You control what you eat and you save money as a side benefit.
One pound is equivalent to 3500 calories. That means if you can eliminate 120 calories a day (thats less than a slice of pizza), youll lose one pound a month, 12 pounds a year, 24 pounds in two years and so on. Youll be a stick! A reed!
And what about exercise? Yes exercising along with diet changes will help you shed those extra pounds even quicker. In fact, a recent study reported on Healthy Hearing (www.HealthyHearing.com) found exercise can increase our hearing abilities due to increasing healthy brain function. Win win!
Puff less, Eat less and Hear More
So, with smoking, go cold turkey, see your doctor and chew nicotine gum like a crazy person until those craving go away. Itll be a week or two before you can stop thinking about your next smoke.
And to lose those extra pounds and inches to keep your healthy hearing longer, slowly eliminate the high-calorie or empty calorie foods and substitute foods that contain more nutrients and fewer calories.
And if you really feel like doing it right, a 20-minute walk three times a week will burn even more calories, while improving cardio-vascular health and brain function.
So, okay, we started with better hearing and weve ended with a better, all-around quality of life better living longer. Are you still here?
Shouldnt you be on your way to the pharmacy for a box of nicotine patches?