Cigarettes Linked to Hearing Loss
You’re probably aware that smoking leads to cancer, heart disease, respiratory problems and so on. Now you can add hearing loss to the list as studies show smokers are more likely to need hearing aids than nonsmokers.
What the Studies Show
As far back as 1962, hearing health experts suspected that cigarettes were responsible for many cases of hearing loss, and now the latest research confirms it. In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, smokers have a 70% greater chance to suffer hearing loss than nonsmokers, and nonsmokers are twice likely to maintain healthy hearing for the long term.
Researchers at the New York University School of Medicine also learned that hearing health issues usually arise among young smokers. In particular, teenagers that smoke or exposed to cigarette smoke are three times more vulnerable to hearing loss compared to those who are not exposed. What makes this even more alarming is most people aren’t aware of the link. A 2011 study for instance, revealed that 80% of those questioned had no idea cigarettes are among the culprits for hearing loss.
How Smoking Affects Your Hearing
Cigarettes are filled with toxic chemicals including nicotine, hydrogen cyanide, ammonia, arsenic and formaldehyde among others. Nicotine and carbon monoxide in particular are dangerous because they reduce oxygen levels and block blood vessels in the major organs, including your ears. If blood and oxygen fail to reach your inner ear, hair cells will fail and lead to hearing loss.
Nicotine in particular, gets in the way of the auditory nerve, the neurotransmitter which informs your brain as to what sound you’re hearing. Also, the nicotine in cigarettes cause vertigo, dizziness and tinnitus among other problems. Studies also show that cigarettes irritate your middle ear’s lining as well as the Eustachian tube.
The damage doesn’t end there however, because smoking also causes heavy damage to the other cells in your body, transforming them into free radicals that weaken your immune system.
Why You Need to Quit Smoking
If the information above isn’t enough, smoking also makes your ears more vulnerable to loud noises as your ears’ protective layers are weakened. The longer you smoke – and the more cigarettes you smoke- the more susceptible you become to permanent ear damage. It’s true that 30 minutes after your last cigarette oxygen levels go back to normal, but prolonged exposure to smoke cause long term damage.
Finally, giving up smoking means you’re saving not just your hearing but also your lungs and heart. It’s no exaggeration to say that smoking can kill you, so it’s time you give it up. The sooner you quit, the better off your body and hearing will be for it.
If you think you need a hearing aid, make sure to get a hearing aid prescription. For more details of our hearing test & assessment, and hearing aid services, please contact HK Hearing & Speech Centre.
HK Hearing & Speech Centre
Specialist of Hearing test & assessment,
and Hearing Aid Prescription