The Hazardous Effects of Smoking on Your Hearing Health
The adverse effects of smoking cigarettes on the lungs is a subject that has been well documented. Current research on hearing health also points to smoking as a source of adverse effects. In comparison, these effects seem more indirect than issues that directly affect the lungs, which is probably why it has taken so long to find the connection. Since smoking affects the lungs, which is how we intake oxygen, this reduces the oxygen levels in the bloodstream, impacting pretty much every part of the body, including the brain and the middle and inner ears. Recent studies have shown that 60 percent of smokers worldwide have some form of hearing loss.
What are the Effects of Smoking on Your Hearing Health?
There are over 7000 chemicals found in cigarettes, with around 750 known carcinogens. Here are some of the worst on the list.
- Carbon Monoxide
- Hydrogen cyanide
Along with many more poisons and toxic chemicals, it really shouldn’t be any surprise that consuming such chemicals causes damage to the system as a whole.
Smokers often experience dizzy spells, indicating low oxygen levels in the bloodstream. Tinnitus is connected to impeded blood flow and low oxygen levels.
Sound-Induced Hearing Damage
Studies have shown that negative effect on blood flow also increases the sensitivity to exposure to loud sounds and noises. This weakness in the blood is translated directly to affect the ears’ natural ability to protect themselves.
Middle Ear Infections
Smoking indoors or in enclosed spaces can cause problems with the middle ear. The effects of secondhand smoke also affect smokers. This kind of air pollution is highly toxic as the smoke leaves a layer of carcinogenic chemicals on everything it touches. Secondhand smoke has been linked to most chronic ear infections in children.
Otitis Media (Ear Pain)
Along with infections comes ear pain. The middle ear is very sensitive to air pollution like cigarette smoke; these chemicals can irritate the passageways that lead from the ears to the throat. This passage, known as the eustachian tube, can become blocked, causing massive problems like pain due to infection.
Auditory Nerve Interference
Some of the newest data casts light on just how dangerous nicotine is. Studies have shown that nicotine affects neurotransmitters in the brain, including the auditory nerves. Damage to these areas can result in a signal loss from these nerves to the brain, resulting in acute hearing loss.
Exposure to cigarette smoke is a source of free radicals in the body. The build-up of these substances will eventually lead to interference of DNA replication, which leads to cancer and potential organ failure.
Known to its users as “Vaping,” these electronic delivery systems are still “cigarettes,” don’t let the letter E fool you; these devices are still full of toxic and carcinogenic chemicals that will negatively affect your hearing and health.
The good news is that studies on the effects of cigarettes on hearing show that quitting at any point can significantly reduce the long-term impact on hearing health.