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Smoking and Hearing Loss: Make it Your Resolution to Quit

Decades of research has shown time and time again that smoking is bad for your health. Yet 1 in 5 Americans continue to puff away daily, causing negative health effects – including hearing loss.

According to a recent published report on AudiologyOnline, the link between smoking and hearing loss was examined including multiple studies that have shown a clear connection between smoking and hearing loss. Yet another reason to move “kicking the habit” to the top of your resolutions list.

Smoking and Hearing Loss

Scientists have recognized the danger smoking presents to hearing for nearly 40 years, though this danger hasn’t been studied to the extent other tobacco-related health risks. Dr. Bharti Katbamna’s, a Western Michigan University researcher, discussed multiple research findings linking smoking with hearing loss and reported the following:

  • The dangerous chemicals in cigarette smoke affect the ears’ ability to transmit vibrations through the hearing mechanism, with the most significant damage reported in the cochlea, the inner ear.
  • The affect smoking has on hearing appears to be correlated with the amount of cigarettes smoked. A study conducted on Japanese office workers who smoke, showed “that as the number of cigarettes smoked per day and pack years of smoking increased, the risk for high-frequency hearing loss increased in a dose dependent manner…”
  • A 2005 study “showed that smoking, age, and noise exposure together pose a greater risk for hearing loss than each factor alone. They showed that non-exposed nonsmokers in the 20-40 years age category were least likely to experience hearing loss, whereas smokers over 40 years with a history of noise exposure were most likely to show a hearing loss.”

Research suggests multiple biological mechanisms that may play a role in developing hearing loss due to smoke exposure, one which includes nicotine and carbon monoxide may actually deplete oxygen levels to the cochlea causing tissue damage.

Smoking alone does increase the chances of experiencing hearing loss, as indicated by multiple studies. However when you combine the negative effects of smoking with the negative effects of exposure to loud noise and the aging process on hearing, well, you have a potent combination that may well lead to serious and irreversible hearing loss.

Protect your hearing and consider placing “Stop Smoking” on your resolution list this year. Your ears will thank you (as will the rest of your body).

To learn more about the link between smoking and hearing loss, visit: Smoking and Hearing Loss: One More Reason to Kick the Habit.

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