Smoking Linked to Increased Risk of Hearing Loss

According to new research, smokers and passive smokers are more likely to suffer from hearing loss. The study was conducted in the UK using a sample of 164, 770 adults aged 40 to 69 years. All of the tested individuals have taken a hearing test between the years of 2007 and 2010. The results showed that the smokers had an increase in hearing loss and that passive smokers had an even greater increase.

The exact connection between smoking and hearing loss is unclear. Scientists theorize that the nicotine and carbon monoxide that is found in cigarettes may diminish oxygen to the inner ear, causing tissue deterioration. Nicotine is also known to cause neurotransmitter impairment. Because neurotransmitters are responsible for chemical messages to the brain, any injury to them will affect the brain. Neurotransmitter damage from smoking can make the brain unable to identify sounds.

The explanation as to why passive smokers had a greater risk of hearing loss than the smokers may be due to the fact that passive smokers were only compared to nonsmokers, whereas the smokers were compared to nonsmokers and passive smokers. The test results could have minimized smoker’s hearing loss.

This study also expresses the risk that smoking provides for late-life hearing loss. Smoking poses an intense threat to those who are or have been smoking since adolescents. During those developmental years, hearing nerves are not fully formed yet; thus the hearing ducts are particularly susceptible to damage, especially those brought on by toxins, such as carbon monoxide and nicotine.

The research team has found that the amount of cigarettes smoked, along with amount of years spent smoking, greatly influence the depth of hearing loss. It is advised that smokers quit their habit and always protect their ears from loud noises.