How Hearing Health Is Impacted By Cigarette Smoking

Smoking Affects Hearing Health

It comes as no surprise that smoking cigarettes is bad for your health. However, many people aren’t aware of how smoking affects hearing health. A newly published study published in the A.M.A.’s Journal of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery gives new insight into how damaging cigarette smoke is for hearing. The study was compiled from the health records of over 3400 patients spanning 30 years.

Smoking Affects Hearing Health: How Smoking Impacts Hearing Loss

While most of the data confirms what was suspected already, comprehensive studies can help improve diagnosis and treatment options for patients. Here are some of the ways smoking impacts hearing loss.

1. Continuous smoking was associated with a more impaired speech-frequency pure-tone standard and Quick Speech-in-Noise test score.
2. Cigarettes have been linked to tinnitus directly or as a forerunner to hearing impairment.
3. It reduces blood oxygen levels by constricting blood vessels, which can harm the sensitive organs inside the inner ear.
4. Cigarettes interfere with the auditory nerve and auditory neurotransmitters.
5. Indoor smoke has been shown to irritate the lining of the middle ear and Eustachian tube.
6. Many of the chemicals in cigarettes are free radicals and can damage D.N.A.

The Facts About Secondhand Smoke

The most surprising findings from the study involve secondhand smoke. This reinforces data consistent with other research studies done in the past.

• People exposed to secondhand smoke were twice as likely to develop hearing issues than those who lived or worked in non-smoking environments.
• Secondhand smoke can advance the progression of hearing loss, especially if it’s smoking-related.
• Smoke-filled environments have also been recognized as damaging to adolescents, potentially tripling their danger of developing sensorineural hearing loss.

More Reasons To Stop

One of the study’s most interesting results is the comparison between nonsmokers and those who quit during the study. The results suggest patients who quit smoking had hearing rates several times higher than their smoking counterparts. The hearing loss percentages for quitters were much closer to those seen in nonsmokers than full-time smokers, showing that quitting at any time dramatically improves hearing and overall health.

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