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Smoking and Weight-Gain Linked to Hearing Loss

June 10, 2008- 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.

The study led by Professor Van Camp at the University of Antwerp and funded by RNID, the charity for deaf and hard of hearing people found that smoking, being over-weight and occupational noise are major risk factors in developing the UKs most common type of hearing loss.

The study found that people who smoke regularly for more than one year had worse hearing than those who had never smoked and that the more you smoke (number of years x number of packs per day) the greater the severity of hearing loss.

As well as the effects of smoking and the research brings to light a correlation between being over-weight and decreased hearing ability and also confirms that exposure to noise contributes to hearing loss in later life exposure to excessive noise is the major avoidable cause of permanent hearing loss worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

Dr Mark Downs, RNIDs Executive Director of Technology and Enterprise says: "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.

"With an ageing population age-related hearing loss 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 in the long term.

"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."

Found at: www.rnid.org.uk/mediacentre

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